Monday, October 20, 2008

RIDD Quartet - Fiction Avalanche (Clean Feed, 2008) ****½

I am not too familiar with the way in which musicians work with labels, or how long it takes before they can get their material released, but I am perplexed that pianist Kris Davis manages to release two albums within a few months time on two different labels, and more importantly, that both are of a very high qualitative level. The RIDD Quartet further consists of Jeff Davis on drums, Jon Irabagon on sax and Reuben Radding on bass. This album is not unlike "Rye Eclipse", although it is more transparent, more accessible, less urgent in its need to tell the story as its predecessor. Many of the compositions have the same abstract and emotional quality of her other recent album. But this is of course a quartet album, not Kris Davis and band. Jon Irabagon I find a revelation on this album. To be honest, I thought his "Outright" album, released earlier this year, was a little over-ambitious, yet here his tone, free lyricism and emotional drive are excellent, not of the same level of Malaby, though, but really strong. Radding is as good as we know him and so is Jeff Davis, and both complement each other well. The second track, "Sky Circles", starts out quite slowly and gentle, yet it gradually starts building intensity and momentum. Whether it's slow emotional explorations as on the title track (which does not sound like an avalanche at all, by the way), or a more intense and raw approach as on the beginning "The Eye And The Telescope", the four musicians manage to have a quite unique coherent and creative angle, with introspective and expansive moods alternating, exploring sound interactions and rhythmic invention. The stylistical elements used are subtle : repetitive piano string pluckings, or repetitive sax phrases, come and go, as do melodies and themes, and so does the volume, and the instruments, but all very subtly, creating slight differences and changes, nothing abrupt, yet full of little surprises that make this quite a great listen. I like it a lot!

© stef

4 comments:

redrawblak said...

Are you planning to check out Braxton's new box set, Mr. Free Jazz?

stef said...

Actually, no, not for the moment.

Anonymous said...

just a small correction: Radding plays bass here, like he usually does ;-)

other than that: keep up the good work, it's always a pleasure to read your reviews, stef!

stef said...

Thanks Anonymous! I was a little too fast there. Is corrected by now.
cheers
stef