Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Kuzu - All Your Ghosts In One Corner (Aerophonic Records, 2021)

Kuzu is a thrilling modern jazz band consisting of Dave Rempis on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, Tashi Dorji on guitar and Tyler Damon on drums. Their brand of free improvisation also expands into punk and experimental music, keeping their sound fresh. Recorded live in March 2020 as the lockdown loomed they stared into the unknown and produced one of their finest albums. "One Fell Swoop" opens the album, introducing the set with the band ramping up their energy like one would move through the gears of a fine sports car, setting their mandate of free improvisation with potent saxophone, loose drumming and guitar playing creating a fascinating soundscape. From here the band moves into an interconnected series of performances, beginning with "Scythe Pt. 1" really pushing the music forward with emotional playing, opening this suite with torrid gales of saxophone, clattering free percussion and raw jabs of electric guitar. This shows the band at their most exciting, projecting their music in a relentless manner. The longest piece is "Scythe Pt. 2" which develops a narrative all its own, eventually ratcheting down the thunder to explore an alien soundscape of spacious and mysterious long tones and drones. The band deftly shifts back up to high speed before launching into "Scythe Pt. 3" where complex extended percussion rings out, while saxophone and electronics spar developing a dynamic improvisation that rises and falls of its own accord. Firing on all cylinders and then dropping off just as fast, strumming simmering guitar playing, developing an excellent sense of tension and drama while sax and drums build, everybody barrels into the conclusion. Patient and intricate trio work is the key to the concluding track "Year of the Rat" followed by wrenching saxophone which breaks out for an exciting and expressive turn, leading an engrossing three way improvisation, using withering long lines of powerful saxophone in an all out assault at the finish line. Everything really came together well on this performance, with the musicians responding to the uncertainty of the world around them with energy and focus leading to a stellar album that will hopefully herald their return to the road. All Your Ghosts In One Corner - Aerophonic Bandcamp

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