Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Amok Amor - We Know Not What We Do (Intakt Records, 2017)

Amok Amor is a fascinating band that began with Christian Lillinger on drums, Petter Eldh on bass, Wanja Slavin on saxophone and they are joined on this album by the always exciting Peter Evans on trumpet, to make them into a powerful quartet. Their music is improvisational, thoughtful and abstract but also accessible and filled with interesting themes and melodies. The blend of instruments and bright and bouncing, beginning with the track "Pulsar" which has a tight melodic statement, and excellent collective playing between the musicians and the some bold individual statements as well. There experimental nature keeps the music fresh and interesting, as evidenced on "Body Decline" where they play at a fast paced tempo, with some complicated interplay and a dynamic sensibility that makes the music very appealing. "Alan Shorter" is an abstract and well intentioned ballad, an improvised tribute to Wayne Shorter's brother, a trumpeter and free jazz pioneer. Actually a full quartet improvisation, "Trio Amok," features deeply ingrained possibilities that this music has and exposes the potential for this type of open ended music that develops at the whims of the musicians involved. The rattling and clanking of the drumming on "Brandy" takes the music in a new rhythmic direction, soon joined by deeply resonant bass, which allows the music to develop with slowly increasing drama until Evans enters with a pinched trumpet improvisation, echoing off of the powerful bass and drums. They are able to extrapolate off of this information and Slavin joins to make this a collective improvisation that is fresh and detailed, flexing the music in new and different ways. The finale of the album, "A Run Through the Neoliberalism," adds some very subtle  improvising with the bobbing and weaving brass and rock solid foundation of the bass and drums giving the proceedings a more melodic and textured feel. On this album, there are hints of the groundbreaking music of the original Ornette Coleman quartet and the wit of another group that Evans was associated with, Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Fans of the music of those two groups or inventive modern jazz as a whole will find a lot to enjoy on this album. We Know Not What We Do -

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