Saturday, July 10, 2021

Natural Information Society - Descension (Out of Our Constrictions) (Eremite Records, 2021)

Natural Information Society, consisting of Joshua Abrams on guimbri, Lisa Alvarado on harmonium and effects, Mikel Patrick Avery on drums, Evan Parker on soprano saxophone and Jason Stein on bass clarinet is one of the most interesting bands playing today. Melding jazz improvisation with fascinating rhythmic settings to create stunning and exciting music. This unique combination of instruments, improvising in a long form manner is quite something to behold. The guimbri and harmonium create a sensibility of a multi ethnic combination of forces, and adding Parker’s protean saxophone takes the music to another level. A couple of new music and book releases earlier this year examined Don Cherry’s pan ethnic organic music ensembles from the early 1970’s. This music fits solidly in that tradition of Ornette Coleman free jazz - nobody’s soloing / everybody’s soloing, and the collective / communal nature of Cherry’s solo work. Parker’s circular breathing borders on astonishing, and his saxophone playing reaches a level of ecstatic frenzy at times, the sounds tumbling out of his horn like a dervish in a trance. The music is able to shift dynamically with ease, moving from periods of poignant quietude to boiling full power very quickly. During the last two passages is where you hear Stein’s clarinet rise up out of the the thicket and play some wonderful sections, particularly when he engages Parker and they explore the depths of light and shade that the music has to offer. But really, this album transcends any one individual and takes the creative energy of all five musicians to develop a clear and distinctive kind of music that is thoroughly compelling and stands as one of the best albums of the year. Descension (Out of Our Constrictions) -

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