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Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Fracture Quartet - 1,000 Lights (Multikulti, 2008) ****

When I first heard the beginning of the first track, called "Falling Rocks", I thought this was one CD to dismiss quickly, when heavily distorted rock guitar sounds, a pumping bass and wild drumming tortured my sensitive ears, yet this initial violence makes soon place for a great soft, gentle and sensitive trumpet solo. Creative contrasts form the core of these carefully crafted compositions. The Chicago-based band "New Fractures", led by drummer Tim Daisy, well-known as the drummer of the Vandermark 5, further consists of Jaimie Branch on trumpet, Dave Miller on guitar and electronics, and Nate McBride on bass. And this line-up is great for the band's musical vision. As their name suggest, they break things to pieces, yet they create something in the meantime. McBride and Daisy form a formidable rhythm section, creative and supple, yet leaving the frontline to two young musicians, whose playing is surprisingly mature.

Jaimie Branch is a strong trumpeter, with a clear and warm tone, and an incredible musical presence and personality for a 25-year old. She surely is someone to watch, as is guitarist Dave Miller, whose range and creativity are also very promising. Anyone can play loud and distorted, but I prefer him when he plays with the sensitive touch with which plays "1,000 Lights", the title track, or when he uses his wealth of clear-toned ideas to add to this great rhythmic and open music, as in "No Fires". This is free jazz, but rhythmic, melodic, with strong compositions while keeping that sense of freedom and expressivity that makes the genre so interesting.

This band gives you the feeling that anything can happen. And it does, yet remarkably, and very unusually, the whole thing remains quite coherent, despite the often abrupt style variations. Four musicians with a story to tell. I like it.

© stef