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Friday, March 18, 2016

Konstrukt and Joe McPhee - If You Have Time (Omlott, 2015) ****

Konstrukt, the Turkish improv ensemble, continues their quality series of parings with veteran jazz musicians, this time with Joe McPhee, on their latest collaboration, If You Have Time.  This is their second album together, the first being Babylon:  The First Meeting of Istanbul, which was a live concert.  If You Have Time was recorded days later, and the music is more direct and focused than the live performance.  

If You Have Time is a brief album by today's standards, comprised of four tracks, the first three blending seamlessly into one continuous track.  It begins with a poem, "Something," spoken by Joe McPhee, asking the listener to focus on the sounds within, in hopes that one may hear "something."  The sounds within are a diverse and exciting mix. "In the Lair of the Dried Rat Dog"  (is it a reference to the 1994 album Dried Rat Dog by Peter Brotzmann and Hamid Drake) is a mixture of ethereal synthesizer, bass, and Joe McPhee's machine gun attack approach on the horn.  Free improv space music.  The music blends right into the next track, "Tell Me, How Long Has 'Trane Been Gone (for James Baldwin)", which recalls John Coltrane's late Impulse! period; blistering, sheets of sound.  The final track, "Frippe's Dream," is a long, powerful piece, deeply spiritual, Ayler like in intensity and in performance.  It is a tribute to Bengt "Frippe" Nordstrom, a Swedish free jazz musician and contemporary of Albert Ayler and Don Cherry.  

If You Have Time is an excellent exotic and spiritual journey; well played and deeply moving.  Recommended.