Sunday, January 13, 2019

Andrew Lamb Trio - The Casbah of Love (Birdwatcher Records, 2018)

Andrew Lamb is originally from Chicago and briefly studied with AACM, before moving to New York and embarking on a very active career as a leader and as a sideman. On this album, he plays tenor and alto saxophone, clarinet and flute, with longtime collaborator Tom Abbs on bass and cello and Ryan Jewell on drums. The music begins with "The Casbah Of Love" featuring tart toned saxophone, soft but insistent percussion and tight bass, coming together for an excellent collective improvisation driven by the punchy saxophone attack which is fearless and raw. Drums shimmer and slide all over the sound of the recording, offering a large rhythmic area to explore, and firm grounding bass anchors everything as Lamb's saxophone has a stark and powerful approach. "Wonders of the Morning" is a solo saxophone performance, probing and gaining strength, repeating a circular motif to gain momentum and then embarking on a free and open improvisation with high pitched squeals juxtaposed against low growls. With a foundation of deep bass and drums, "Nights and Miracles" uses bellowing saxophone developing a strong and brawny sound, moving through the air in a physically strong; muscular manner. Lamb punctuates the music with high register wails, giving the music a hypnotic, kinetic sensation, as the drums roil and the bass takes root. They allow space to enter their sound, giving their individual and collective approaches more weight, and a haunting unresolved conclusion. "Intergalactic Parables" builds a bass heartbeat and interesting rhythm from the drums, while Lamb uses multiple horns or over blowing of some sort, to create an arresting sound. Tight bursts from the horns along the regulars bass pulse and drum sounds, sounding like their own on Sun Ra's music from the early sixties. Another solo feature, "The Third Shadow," opens the clarion call of the solo saxophone, a call to arms, deep and clear like a flowing stream which is able to change through improvisation in an elegant and graceful way. The sound of Lamb's saxophone is compelling, demanding attention and admiration, firmly holding the attention of the listener. "Embrace of the Twin Ponds" features beautiful gentle flute playing, a fluttering warm tone aligned with soft brushed percussion and light bass playing. The music moves forward in a quietly exploratory formation, offering plenty of space for the trio to examine their surroundings. Quietly rumbling bass and drums provide stark contrasts to the lighter toned flute and provider further energy to this lengthy and successful performance. The Casbah of Love -

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