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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rob Brown - Radiant Pools (RogueArt 2005) ****

The French RogueArt label has published a wonderful series of modern jazz in the past frew years, including work by Hamid Drake, Malachi Favors, Roscoe Mitchel. And also this "Radiant Pools" by Rob Brown (sax) with Steve Swell (trombone), Joe Morris (bass) and Luther Gray (drums). The first piece is uptempo, pushed forward by bass and drums, with excellent solos by Swell and Brown. Then comes "Semantics 1", a more abstract and contemplative piece, with great interplay of Morris on arco, and with the sax and trombone that seek and elicit tones and sounds from eachother like a love dance between two doves. The same concept returns in "Semantics 2" later on the CD, with Morris on flute. "Out Of The Lurch" is more freebop, with a solidly anchored rhythm and a clearly delineated theme. "Radiant Pools" starts with a minute-long unisono of sax and trombone, moving away and coming back again. Halfway the piece, Morris's arco enters the game. The most beautiful piece is King Cobra, a composition by Joe Morris (also to be found on his "Beautiful Existence") which is slightly funky and because of the sheer beauty of the melody brings up the best out of the musicians. The overal space offered by the music on this album allows the musicians to demonstrate the breadth of their technical range and knowledge of jazz in all its aspects. Great.