Sunday, November 04, 2012

Living By Lanterns - New Myth/Old Science (Cuneiform, 2012)

Ironically I was working on this post when Sandy came barging into the Jersey shore. So, while I didn't have any lanterns handy I did live by candle and flashlight for a week. New Myths/Old Science is an album by a collective group put together to write and perform music based on an archival collection of material by the great jazz iconoclast Sun Ra. The group consists of Greg Ward on alto saxophone, Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor saxophone, Tomeka Reid on cello, Mary Halvorson on guitar, Jason Adasiewicz on vibraphone, Joshua Abrams on bass, Tomas Fujiwara on drums and Mike Reed on drums and electronics. The group is a varied and diverse one, drawing on different aspects of the progressive jazz scene. Adasiewicz is particularly potent over the course of the the album with a ringing metallic sound that drives the uptempo numbers like the superb set ending "New Science" and allowing for a softer malleted approach during the mysterious slower performances. While the album is primarily an opportunity for the ensemble as a whole to shine, there are spots where the individual musicians peek through. Reed and Fujiwara develop a widely varying and interesting sense of rhythm between them, akin to Sun Ra, as the bandleader often used multiple percussionists in some of his compositions. Mary Halvorson is also able to pick out a spot for a challenging and snarling electric guitar solo. This album shows that the influence of Sun Ra is still potent on the modern jazz scene with modern musicians drawing from both his music and his philosophy as inspiration. New Myth/Old Science -

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