Monday, August 24, 2020

Threadbare - Silver Dollar (NoBusiness Records, 2020)

Threadbare is a bracing and frequently thrilling modern jazz trio consisting of Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Ben Cruz on guitar and Emerson Hunton on drums. They recorded this album early last year in Chicago and it kicks off with “And When Circumstances Arise” which has fresh and invigorating horn, guitar and drums releasing at speed. Stein’s bass clarinet sounds woody and hollow, guiding the collective through a great fast improvisation. Some squeak and avant tinges are present but the group is fully in control, playing brash sounds with no holding back. “Threadbare 02” takes a while to get going, exploring low tones and open space, full of abstract ominous waiting and patience. Restrained drums gradually push to a strong full band improvisation, with shimmering guitar, plowing drums and bass clarinet setting up the big push at the end. “70 Degrees and Counting Down” opens with guitar strum bringing the band together using an imposing growling dynamic that is able to shift tempo and mood at will. Swirling potent sounds from the group work like a churning engine, and a well oiled one at that, firing on all cylinders. There are mysterious sounds on ‘24 Mesh Veils” emanating from the bass clarinet as the music gets raw, with shards of guitar, deep clarinet and drums creating stark swaths of sound leading to a jazz - metal stomp, alternating with fleet guitar and building a massive footprint. Abstract, barely audible clarinet, spare drums and guitar open “Threadbare,” where the sounds gradually develop and fill the available space, becoming more recognizable. Picking up speed with piercing guitar, heavy drums and scouring clarinet the group comes together for a torrid collectively improvised peak. “Silver Dollar” returns to the definite metal vibes with slamming guitar, drums and guttural clarinet. The band ruthlessly grinds forward, like an instrument of doom. Raw clarinet peeks out with a solo barely above the noise, with a thrillingly free statement, shaking his fist at the very void itself. Raw, spare and atmospheric, “Untitled” has lightly played music with a hint of the unknown. Their performance gradually develops, sending out tendrils of sound, getting stronger and gathering form. Strong and agile guitar solo pushes the trio faster adding complex texture to the end. This was a very good album, full of nimble and complex group performances, featuring great interplay between the instruments, and wonderful communication. The trio sets a thrilling pace and keeps it up through the length of the disc with no letdown. Threadbare - Silver Dollar - Bandcamp

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