Monday, February 25, 2019

Bloor - Drolleries (Astral Spirits, 2019)

Bloor is a trio consisting of Sam Weinberg on tenor and alto saxophone, Andrew Smiley on electric guitar and Jason Nazary on drums. They develop their unique approach through the use of repetition within their performances, which are constantly changing and progressing into improvisations based off of the composed themes. The album opening "Blast" shows the trio playing fast and upbeat right out of the gate, repeating ideas, and then shifting gears, with raw sounding saxophone, wiry guitar and slashing drums keeping the music very fast and exciting and at the edge of sensory overload. Fast strumming of the guitar and manipulating of the strings astride longer peals of saxophone leads back to a madcap theme for a fast paced conclusion. The short burst that is "J1" is a fast drum solo leading into the adroit collective playing on "Mollycoddled" which shows the trio fully integrated together and building a full head of steam with massive blasts of saxophone above the edgy sound keeping the feel fast and tight. The music unfolds gradually, revealing a little more of itself each time, and building a sense of hypnotic cross pollination between composition and improvised interpretation. "The Croy Hours" takes a more abstract approach, the music sounding wide and unmoored, seemingly the freest piece on the album, open to more than one interpretation and delving into ferociously loud and wild squalls of collective playing that are thrilling to hear. This sudden violent gust of sound works in the bands favor and allows them to develop a performance spontaneously forming a shock wave that is wonderful to hear. "Defacer" is fast and true, almost nearing a tightly wound Prime Time groove, with the emphasis on heavy rhythm, and staccato drumming. It is impressive that they can play such complex music so cleanly, and then use it as the springboard for improvisation flights, led by the saxophone that soars with a deep gritty tone, as the heavily strummed guitar and crashing drums threaten to burrow the groove into the earth. It's a massive and superb performance of powerhouse music, everyone working together to create an overwhelming beast of a track. There is a lighter and nimbler sensibility to "Liber Scivias" with guitar and percussion cleaving open space for the saxophone to exploit, and engage into a powerful three way split. Tumbling drumming drives the momentum forward with shards of electric guitar and longer tones of saxophone paving the way. They lower the sound then ratchet back up the dynamism and the tension playing off each other and achieving sparks to further an inspired improvisational flight. "Spice (For Arthur Blythe)" is a wonderful tribute to the master saxophonist, you can hear his influence as the group develops a theme that has echoes of Illuminations or Lenox Avenue Breakdown, and then take it in their own personal direction. They dig really deep into their unique style of playing, developing an immense amount of energy and power that sees them through the the end. (You Tube) Bloor at The Glove - Feb 7 2019
Bloor - Drolleries Bandcamp

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