Sunday, May 20, 2012

Aych - As the Crow Flies (Relative Pitch, 2011)

This is an angular and abstract album of progressive jazz from a collective unit consisting of Jim Hobbs on alto saxophone, Mary Halvorson on guitar and Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet and brass. The music has an sharp cornered and edgy feel with ominous overtones flowing through it, like walking through a closed carnival late at night, where shadows and un-nerving noises lurk in wait. The performances are a mix of Jim Hobbs compositions like the lengthy title track and high-wire free improvisations credited to the group as a whole. The short collective improvisations are quite exciting like "The North Wind" or "Bimini Road" where the group develops a short pointed performances spontaneously. Hobbs' own compositions go into greater textural depth, using the full palette of sounds available from the trio. Hobbs and Bynum spit and slur their lines obscuring the music until the mostly short pieces become one haunting sphere of sound. Mary Halvorson alternatively strums her guitar and hurls bolts of nervous energy complementing the other two instruments and adding to the atmosphere of the recording. As the Crow Flies -

Send comments to Tim.