Monday, April 02, 2012

Andrew Lamb - Rhapsody in Black (No Business Records, 2012)

Like one his heroes, John Coltrane, saxophonist and flute player Andrew Lamb was born in North Carolina before matriculating to the competitive jazz scene in New York City. Active both as a leader and as a sideman, he takes the leadership role on this very well played progressive jazz album. Playing saxophone, flute, clarinet and conch shell, Lamb is joined by Tom Abbs on bass, tuba and didjeridoo, and Michael Wimberly and Guillermo E. Brown on drums and percussion. Opening the album with a song called “Initiation”, the music slowly gains speed like a developing incantation, gradually building around Lamb’s long tones on saxophone and the texturally meshed percussion. “Rhapsody in Black” is a potent with both spiritual and musical power, along with unquenchable drive. The two drummers make for a powerful rhythm machine, and when you add to them torrid gales of saxophone and rock solid bass, you have the makings of an excellent and memorable performance. Taking a different approach, “To Love In The Rain (Portrait Of A Virtuous Woman)” develops a slow and mysteriously exotic improvisation with Lamb playing flute and the drummers shifting like grains of sand on a desert dune. Gusts of wind from flute and shell play off against bowed bass and percussion in a beautiful and remarkable manner. A strong blast of unaccompanied saxophone heralds the arrival of the final track, “Song of the Miracle Lives”, with Lamb and Abbs developing a late-night vibe of pathos before the pace begins to increase and the music becomes a call to arms. Lamb has a deep and personal voice on the saxophone and it come through here, with a raw and yearning feel, telling a deep story amidst the rhythmic bass and drums. The music develops to an explosive climax with punctuated by literal screams of energy. The performances on this album are spontaneous yet thoughtful, filled with the type of empathy that only excellent musicians who are fully attuned to each other can bring to their craft. Rhapsody in Black - No Business Records.

Send comments to Tim.