Saturday, July 24, 2021

Barry Altschul's 3dom Factor - Long Tall Sunshine (Not Two Records, 2021)

Recorded live, this is the fourth album for drummer Barry Altschul's 3dom Factor, and he is once again in the company of Jon Irabagon on tenor and sopranino saxophones  and alto clarinet, Joe Fonda on bass. The music is a very strong collection of improvisations and these veteran musicians make the most of the open ended setting and the friendly and supportive audience. “Long Tall Sunshine” has fast free sounds of willowy saxophone, a thick bass solo, then a swanky melody built in when the saxophone returns. The music is very interesting, beginning in an abstract manner then developing a unique theme and strong collective improvisation that allows the whole trio to dig in and create a powerful and enlightening performance. The remaining tracks on the album show how diverse that a trio can become with Jon Irabagon moving beyond his usual tough talking tenor saxophone playing to incorporate the sopranino saxophone, one of the smallest instruments in that group of instruments. He does not play this for novelty value, but for the very high pitched and emotionally expressive sound that he brings to the instrument, improvising on it with aplomb as he does with his third instrument, the alto clarinet. This gives him yet another pigment with which he can sound-paint, a bright, hollow sound that swoops and dives, working as well in flat out ballers as it does with selections that are more detached from a clear center of mass. Bassist Joe Fonda is more than up to the task, providing buoyant support and excellent soloing, particularly with eloquent bowed passages. Leader Barry Altshul has chosen his compatriots and selections very well. There are echoes of the great Sam Rivers Trio, of which he was the percussionist for several years in the 1970’s. His playing can run the the gamut from swinging support to scouring free playing, all focused in on the music. The three musicians click together like puzzle pieces to form a complete and cohesive whole using all of the techniques at their disposal to develop a creative and exciting album. Long Tall Sunshine - amazon.com

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