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Thursday, April 10, 2008

The September Quartet - What Goes Around (Loose Torque, 2008) ****

One day in September of last year Jon Corbett (trumpet) and Nick Stephens (bass), met for a duo recording. They asked Tony Marsh (drums) for the second day and recorded "The Play's The Thing", and Paul Dunmall (sax) joined on the fourth to record this CD. Three days, three releases on Nick Stephens' Loose Torque label. These four musicians know what music is, and they feel each other beautifully, they even sense each other blindly. The first track starts with a bizarre slow halting rhythm, as if bass and drums are trying to level each other out. Dunmall and Corbett weave their expressive tones over it. Throughout the album the atmosphere remains the same : mid-tempo free improv, with excellent interaction. These guys don't scream, they don't shout, they don't go to extremes, keeping the tones all within the middle range, using improvisational phrases unusually, keeping away from the expected, without totally relinquishing jazz tradition. As on Corbett's other albums, this music is very much in the moment, full of concentrated intense musical joy in the creation of sound and interplay. Most of the time this results in collage-like sounds overlapping each other and redirecting the music to other places, but once in a while the music flows together for some strong emotional playing, with the rhythm section rumbling along, full of surprises and creative insights. Really intense and interesting stuff.