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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Demian Richardson - The Gowanus Recordings (577 Records, 2009) ****

Real free jazz is like water : it flows freely, refreshingly, you can dip your feet in it, submerge in it, drown in it. You can't tell. But the best way to enjoy it, is to make sure you keep afloat (don't swim!) and let the music carry you away, without expectations, without an idea of where you will end up, stop rationalizing (where? what? when? how? ), stop asking questions, stop wondering, just float along. At least that's how I appreciate most of real free jazz, think of Other Dimensions In Music for instance. This album is in the same vein, and I enjoy it at the same level.

The band is led by Demian Richardson on trumpet, with Matthew Putman on piano, David Moss on bass, Federico Ughi on drums, and Daniel Carter on tenor sax, flute, clarinet and trumpet. Ughi and Carter need no introduction: soulful freedom is their natural habitat. Moss has the not so easy task of deciding when and when not to formalise rhythms, and usually he manages to color the music rather than play the beat. Putman does a really great thing on piano, which is possibly the hardest instrument to play in a totally free enviromnent without sounding chaotic or overpowering the soloists, yet he is at his best on the slow "Out Of The Ether". Yet Richardson himself is the star. I did not know him. But his tone is clear and bluesy, in the most traditional sense, yet what he does with it is the strong part: playing phrases heavy with soul and freedom, confident enough to use silence to create a feeling of openness and possibilities. And that defines the very nature of the music : gentle and free, unobtrusive yet full of character, open yet focused. Let it flow and float along ...

Buy from 577 Records.

© stef