Saturday, April 23, 2016

Keefe Jackson / Jason Adasiewicz - Rows and Rows (Delmark Records, 2016)

The Chicago modern jazz scene is bursting with talent, from the AACM through younger musicians and their brand of tough talking, no-nonsense music is recognized worldwide. This is a duet recording between two Chicago stalwarts, Keefe Jackson on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet and Jason Adasiewicz on vibraphone. “Caballo Ballo” begins the album with a wonderful juxtaposition of light and dancing mallets and dark and probing saxophone. The instruments meet and converse and the saxophone gets choppy with the vibes riding the waves, moving through a great improvised section to a calamitous conclusion. A long and yearning moan from Jackson’s tenor saxophone ushers in “Questioned, Understood, Possessed” framed by vibes that glimmer as if in a breeze. There is an excellent saxophone solo, which is raw and delightful, wrapped in a shimmering gown of vibraphone notes. “Where’s Mine” features a darker horn, perhaps a bass clarinet, burbling against the clanging and discordant vibes. Clarinet and vibraphone work well together as a sound and it makes for an interesting combination. There are long tones of clarinet that develop as the improvisation builds and Adasiewicz’s vibes orbit around those tones before coming back to more traditional interplay in the conclusion. Swirling clarinet with light sharp vibes intertwine on “Swap” as the make their advance. Jackson’s cries open up the music and allow more of the available space to come into play, deepening the music, and keeping the music raw and very real. Quiet, subtle saxophone and vibes open “Rows and Rows” and the music is taken at a very wide angle with an improvisation in three dimensions plus time as Jackson pushes forward and Adasiewicz has gentle droplets of crystalline notes that fall like rain. “Putting it On, and Taking it Off” has strident but not overwhelming saxophone, and vibraphone in the background biding it’s time. Jackson’s saxophone playing is excellent here, it’s blustery and raw in what evolves into a free-ish ballad and he sounds something like a post-modern Ben Webster. Slow steps of ascending vibes open “Canon From the Nothing Suite” before Jackson’s saxophone enters adding a further mysterious air to the proceedings. The music has a strange alluring quality to it, especially when there is a raw burst of saxophone followed by a quick blast of vibes that sustains and hangs in the air like violence and regret before the music slowly fades out. This would be great music for a modern day film noir. This album worked very well, Keefe Jackson - Jason Adasiewicz made for an excellent duo team and I hope that Delmark is able to bring together members of the Chicago scene for duet sessions, it would make for a great series. Rows And Rows -

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