Monday, October 26, 2020

Jon Irabagon - I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues Volume 3: Anatomical Snuffbox (Irabbagast Records, 2020)

A wonderful blast of much needed cathartic energy in this virus addled and politically divided land is provided by the quartet of Jon Irabagon on tenor saxophone, Ava Mendoza and Mick Barr on guitars and Mike Pride on drums. The Nothin' But the Blues series have added musicians with each entry and it is very interesting to now hear two guitarists add their own unique approaches to the format. They sustain their fast paced high heat improvisation "I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues Volume 3: Anatomical Snuffbox" for an full uninterrupted forty-seven minutes, and the invention never flags, while the musicians keep the proceedings interesting and exciting throughout. While the music may draw its grounding from the deep blues, an endless wellspring of musical inspiration, there is also a deep vein of experimental music and noise rock contained within it which allows for wide open imagination. Collective improvisation is the most important approach here, although any one of the instrumentalists could dominate the proceedings if they so chose, the results are remarkably democratic, with Barr and Mendoza creating fascinating and constantly changing textures through their guitar interplay, along side Pride's rumbling and rhythmically subversive drumming. Irabagon has proven many times that he has the stamina to match up at length with such heavy company, and his playing is typically excellent. Alternating muscular runs with Ayler-ish wails he completes the band like the final piece of a puzzle. This could be daunting to listen to, yet the album flows very well and there is no sense of the music having a very serious or gloomy expression. It is undoubtedly heavy, but like the best metal, there is a satisfaction that comes from the impact of the music and knowing the musicians gave it everything they had. I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues Volume 3: Anatomical Snuffbox -

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