"Drawing from their extensive experience of playing with virtually every household name in the experimental and avant-garde jazz areas, this quartet featuring Hans Tammen, Alfred 23 Harth, Chris Dahlgren and Jay Rosen delivers a real thrill ride with their new release Expedition. Its members have played with John Zorn, Sonny Sharrock, Jaco Pastorius, Peter Brötzmann, David Murray, Fred Frith, Peter Kowald, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Keith Rowe, Günter Müller, Paul Lytton, William Parker, Herb Robertson and many others.
With masterful command of even the most extreme ranges of their instruments, the four musicians demonstrate perceptive and unflagging attention, bountiful energy, responsive imagination, and the ability to track rapidly shifting shapes of amassed sound and tack personal intent to the group's direction."-ESP
By what rights do these guys make this music? How dare they plunge without prelude to thrash, smash, mash – though not trash – music conventions in freely improvised play that has the urgency of necessity, the ferocity of excitement, a no-holds-barred organizing principle and devil-may-care attitude about the results?
Frankly, they proceed without regard for license. They just do it – and who dares say they can't? They know no need to apply for permission from any powers that be. Individually and all togther, Hans Tammen, Chris Dahlgren, Jay Rosen, and Alfred Harth have exactly what's required: perceptive and unflagging attentions, bountiful energies, responsive imaginations, masterful command of even the most extreme ranges of their instruments, the ability to track quickly shifting shapes of amassed sound and tack their personal intents to the group's direction.
These qualities allow them to produce, enter and explore a previously unmapped soundscape, a realm that seems to have internal consistencies and narrative arcs but no explicit guideposts or pre-ordained landmarks. There is mystery in their undertaking, and perhaps danger – what if they venture into madness? What if you've followed them all the way?
Well, it's up to each listener to join their foray or turn from it, to accept the challenge of heading into the unknown or to shy away from the experience as too raw, complex or untethered. But there is no stopping the advances of this band, no denying the power of its efforts. Its members are certain of what they're doing. Come along for the thrill ride or stay stuck where you are, it's your call.
The path here may seem rough; the tracks, as distinguished from each other, rather arbitrary given the rushing flow. But nothing is forced, everything is discovered and then simply unleashed. The fury is initially overwhelming, but with repeated hearings finer details emerge. A saxophone honks, wails, squawks, squalls, then a line emerges that turns into – "The Saint's Go Marching In"? Brash slashes of guitar morph into minutely nuanced manipulation of its least expected capacities. Hard-pressing rhythms suddenly subside; colors splay across the cymbals, there's a tinkling of bells. Boldly bowed bass becomes a plucking that's felt beneath everything else, but absorbed by the roar. Is there a muted trumpet? A clarinet? Gulls?
Is this sound, or that one, computer-generated, or hand-made but distorted beyond immediate recognition? It hardly matters, because however wild and wooly the music gets it's obviously all produced by men with the desire – nay, need -- to express themselves beyond limits, and not sometime but right now! This session must have been a highly gratifying opportunity for the four musicians (yes, there are only four) to revel in their shared sensibility, to test their own and each other's strengths and intuitions and set loose their uncensored passions. It worked, no doubt, to reinforce their beliefs in certain precepts, including: Liberty is good in itself; musical gestures convey meaning; greater comprehension may derive from direct exposure to the unusual or unforeseen than from description or didactic instruction. Each auditor can find his or her own way."-Howard Mandel, from the liner notes
Related Categories of Interest:
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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