Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Kuzu - Purple Dark Opal (Aerophonic Records, 2020)

This is the third album in three years for this very talented trio and they go from strength to strength in making even more excellent and exploratory music as time goes by. The band consists of Dave Rempis on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, Tashi Dorji on guitar and Tyler Damon on drums and percussion. This album is made up of one massive fifty-five minute improvisation that was recorded in October of 2018 in Milwaukee. The music swells dramatically ebbing and flowing through series of massive squalls of loud and fast free jazz but also music that breaks into subtle interactions of graceful musicianship. Tyler Damon opens the album with some unaccompanied percussion and has the spotlight for a drum solo much later in the recording that is very impressive, and he is also the engine room when the music rises into the stratosphere. Rempis uses all of his saxophones within the context of a lengthy collective free improvisation, moving through them seamlessly like Sam Rivers would in his classic trio concerts of the 1970's. Dori is a very interesting player, not based in jazz, but in noise and abstract rock, allowing him to bring a fresh approach to this improvised sound, incorporating slashes and jolts of electricity that can weave into the groups sound or disrupt the music, sending the music into fresh and unexplored territory. This album is the culmination of a lengthy tour the band did in the autumn of 2018, and you can tell by listening to them how strong the musical bonds had become. Everybody listens and reacts to each other, taking cues to alter the tempo and range of the improvisation on the fly, as their individual sounds meld together into one genuinely identifiable group sound and identity. Using quieter cells of abstract improvisation as a breather from the full out fire music works well, as Dorji scrapes and strums his guitar, building and abstract soundscape alongside clattering percussion. Long bellows of music fly as the group's creativity soars, returning to a trio collective improvisation that is moving at high speed, creating immediate and physical saxophone playing pushed by glowing shards of electric guitar and deeply rhythmic drumming. Everything comes together for an epic performance, the musicians take everything they have learned from weeks together on the road and from their previous recordings together and played their guts out here laying everything on the line and coming out on top with a stellar performance and one of the best albums of the new year. Purple Dark Opal - Aerophonic Records Bandcamp

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