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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

KonstruKt & Marshall Allen - Live At Sant’anna Aressi Jazz Festival (8 mm, 2014) ****½

Konstrukt is a Turkish quartet comprised of saxophonist Korhan Futaci, guitartist Umut Çaglar, bassist Özün Usta, and drummer Korhan Argüden.  Marshall Allen is an alto sax player best known for his work with Sun Ra and his Arkestra, which he now leads.  "Live at Sant' Anna Arresi Jazz Festival" is their second collaboration, after "Vibrations of the Day," done two years previously, and it is an excellent live date. 

The Introduction and Ates tracks which open the session recall the Arkestra, with sparse percussion, horns and chimes, that creates a dynamic and slightly menacing atmosphere, like abstract yoruba space music.  It evolves to adding electronics and sax, where Korhan Futaci's playing floats on top of the percolating percussion, alternating between lyrical and free style playing.  Bass and organ intrude, and the playing becomes more intense, as the music lifts into the stratosphere.  The organ playing does recall Sun Ra's playing in the 60's and 70's.  

Bulut features flute and organ, with percussion exploding after the long duet, propelling the sound, until it fades into an ethereal empty space.  Anakara & Toprak both feature Marshall Allen, and he and Futaci exchange horn interplay while the rhythm section percolate underneath before exploding into a furious group interplay, with organ providing strong accents (similar to Miles Davis' electric period, minus the funk).  

The tracks with Allen are the strongest because of this hard driving free improv sound.  My only quibble is the sound, which again for a live date sounds like it was recorded in the back of the room, but the music is so strong is almost doesn't matter.  Konstrukt's "Live at Sant' Anna Arresi Jazz Festival" is part tribute to Sun Ra and his Arkestra, part honoring Marshall Allen's own contributions to music, and part showcasing the group's own unique sound and skills, which are excellent, and a fine example of how global creative and improvised music is and can be.  

Highly recommended.

Available from Instantjazz.