Thursday, July 09, 2009

Old Dog - By Any Other Name (Porter, 2009)

Old Dog is a collaborative band consisting of Louie Belogenis on tenor sax, Karl Berger on vibes and piano, Michael Bisio on bass and Warren Smith on drums. They meet at the intersection of free jazz and post bop and explore the spaces in between those two forms of improvisational music. "By Any Other Name (Trio)" opens the album with Berger on the sidelines as the trio takes a low-tempo approach, focused on yearning saxophone playing. "Endless Return" is a very exciting performance that uses urgent throbbing bass and rippling piano to move things along briskly. Bisio's excellent playing is the key here, pushing and prodding the tart saxophone playing forward. "Swa Swu Sui" has Berger switching to vibes, over a furious bass and drum pace. Belogenis' tenor cooks hot and deep, he really digs in and blows hard. "Round and Round" has some more raw saxophone over bowed bass. Taken at a slower, more ominous tempo, the music evokes raw and primal fear with slight vibraphone accents playing off the wounded and plaintive feel of the music. "Living Large" has yearning tenor saxophone playing long tones over pulsating bass and broken beat drumming. "Zephyr Revisited" moves the band back into more traditional post-bop territory, with vibes interacting nicely with bass and drums and evoking mid-tempo swing. The crystalline sound makes a perfect launching pad for a strong free-bop tenor saxophone solo. "Constellation" finds the drums moving in low to the ground, making a firm foundation for the tenor sax and piano moving in and picking the pace up. This was an enjoyable and exciting album, with music that is grounded in the great inside/outside music that was made for Blue Note in the early 1960's by musicians like Sam Rivers and Bobby Hutcherson. It is very heartening to hear musicians that are taking the traditions of that music and moving them forward into the music of today.
By Any Other Name -

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