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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rob Brown & Oleś Brothers - Live At SJC (Fennomedia, 2009) ****

 The Oleś brothers are not only one of the finest rhythm sections in modern jazz, they always manage to play music that is clever, inventive and open, while still remaining fully locked in jazz. They have definitely found a likeminded artist in alto saxophonist Rob Brown, whose mastery of his instrument is phenomenal, a great match for the two brothers, while having the same openness to music. They find each other here for this excellent live performance, recorded with a great sound quality.

The album starts with the "Here & Now Suite",  a piece in three parts, very much in a free bop mode, with clear influences of Ornette Coleman's angular themes, and a stop and go rhythm, and lots of high energy playing. It is with the slower "Rebeaming", a composition by Marcin Oleś that the album starts getting really strong, possibly because the theme seems to fit Brown perfectly, and because of the increased openness, that his playing becomes more yearning. This quality is maintained for the following pieces, on the very boppish "Black Eagle", and is surpassed on "Ash Tree", the slowest and most open-textured piece. The album ends with "Monkey's Hour", a piece with changing rhythms and tempi, full of nervous joy and angular playing.

Even if it is not the album that will be remembered in ten years from now for its musical vision (as compared to the Oles Brothers "Duo" album of last year, or Rob Brown's own "Sounds" or "Breathe Rhyme"), it is a joy to hear.

 Listen and download from bandcamp (for a meager US$6).

© stef