Saturday, December 05, 2020

TEST and Roy Campbell (577 Records, 2020)

TEST was one of the great guerilla bands of the 1990's and early 2000's, playing anywhere from the subways of New York City to improvised upstate performance spaces and the Knitting Factory. I saw them in person and can confirm the power and majesty of their live performances. The band consisted of Sabir Mateen on alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet, Daniel Carter on alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet and flute, Matthew Heyner on bass and Tom Bruno on drums. Joining them for this concert was trumpeter Roy Campbell who was a massive force of energy on the New York City progressive jazz scene, whether as a bandleader or as a member of exciting ensembles like Other Directions on Music. This concert was recorded live on April 16, 1999 at the Hint House, in Harlem, New York, and it is immediately clear that this isn't just a working band with special guest, but a truly synthesized unit that hits the ground running right away and doesn't let up for the length of one uninterrupted forty-seven minute performance. The music is revelatory, shocking really, when you hear a much loved band joined by another heroic musician who passed away far too young. The music is so fresh and alive, with the reeds of Sabir Mateen and Daniel Carter in an act of continuous motion, swirling and creating a riot of color along side the flexible rhythm section of Heyner and Bruno who keep the music boiling at a simmering heat. Campbell is is the perfect guest, supporting the band with supple brass playing and soaring to the top with powerfully muscular soloing. The whole set unfolds organically and develops naturally and in a truly free fashion, it is a joy to hear these wonderfully talented musicians take flight and fearlessly paint the sky with unfettered sound. TEST and Roy Campbell - Bandcamp

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