Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ballister - Mechanisms (Clean Feed, 2012)

Ballister is a very exciting collective trio consisting of Dave Rempis on saxophones, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. With the ever present Nilssen-Love joining a couple of stalwarts of the vibrant Chicago jazz scene, the results are bound to be exciting and occasionally thrilling and the music certainly lives up to that expectation. There are three lengthy performances, and listening to Mechanisms is a very exciting proposition, with three amazing free jazz blowouts culminating in the half-hour long concluding performance "Roller Nuts." The preceding two passages, "Release Levers" and "Claplock" set the stage, with the former being a strong uptempo improvisation, while the latter begins in a much moodier nature before building to an explosive climax. These two tracks alone are thrilling music, but "Roller Nuts" by Ballister is a free jazz epic that is just blew my mind. Explosive trio work that doesn't let up for a second of its nearly half-hour time. I think that comparisons to John Coltrane's Ascension and Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz are appropriate, while the trio is much smaller than those large group improvisations, the group packs a tremendous amount of energy and sustains it with remarkable drive and passion. Mechanisms -

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