Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Eric Revis - Slipknots Through A Looking Glass (Pyroclastic Records, 2020)

Experimenting in form and freedom, bassist Eric Revis assembles a stellar lineup to explore a wide ranging set of modern jazz with Bill McHenry on tenor saxophone, Darius Jones on alto saxophone, Kris Davis on piano and Chad Taylor on drums. "Baby Renfro" opens the album with a very nice bass and drums groove, allowing the horns enter to complete the theme, in a choppy rhythmic fashion. Revis employs a deep elastic bass tone near bright piano chords and spicy sounding horns to create a very interesting performance, with the whole band developing a deep rhythmic significance in a focused and tightly wound presentation. The leader's patient bass sets the tone on "SpÆ" with spare piano creating a unique atmosphere, and Taylor adding interesting percussion. Davis uses prepared piano and Taylor adds marimba along side bowed bass to create a fascinating pensive soundscape where their rhythm is complex, but exciting and enjoyable, and builds to an unpredictable finish. On "Shutter," the band comes out blazing, behind heavy drums with rippling piano and sweeping saxophones, developing and potent theme and unleashing a raw and guttural saxophone solo with the unrelenting drums pushing everyone forward. Harmonizing horns work together well, with each saxophone getting a turn to add scorching commentary to this stellar track, nearing Coltrane at Seattle level of rending, ripping sounds. Bass and drums open "Vimen," sounding abstract and probing, followed by cascading free sounding piano that enters and flows amid the channel provided, leading to a three way rhythmic exchange that is quite compelling. The horns enter late, soaring together over the established foundation, leading to a withering saxophone solo that stakes a claim to space over pointed bass and drums with piano briefly laying out, adding a corrosive air to the proceedings. Strongly played piano re-enters, fighting back, creating a maelstrom of fascinating sound that is in continuous development. The lighter toned saxophone takes the music in a different but no less intense direction with the collective improvisation coming fast and furious as the group is fully locked in and playing modern jazz at its highest level, returning to the urgent theme for an epic conclusion. This was an album that was very successful, with the musicians fearlessly moving through a wide range of musical themes and concepts, working together to create a robust and lasting statement. Slipknots Through A Looking Glass - amazon.com

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