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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Collective 4tet - Transition (Leo Records, 2009) *****

To be honest, I did not know this band, despite the fact that they have been performing since 1994 and that they had released five albums so far. Their music is as free as the wind, wild, fierce, agonizing, but also strong, coherent, sensitive, with all four musicians sharing the same vision and sense of focus. The band consists of Arthur Brooks on trumpet, Heinz Geisser on drums, Mark Hennen on piano and William Parker on bass. Brooks is the replacement of trombonist Jeff Hoyer, who had been with the band since its creation, and who died in December 2006. I am sure his memory was with the musicians when playing this album. I cannot compare with their previous work, but the music that is to be heard on this album is breathtaking. The first track starts slowly, contemplatively, building up an edifice out of sparse notes, somewhat reminiscent of Other Dimensions In Music, but as the piece evolves, momentum builds up, leading to the second piece, that has this incredible drive, propulsed forward by the rhythm section but especially by Hennen's piano, whose relentless thundering is as energetic as it gets, with Brooks filling in perfectly on trumpet, adding the emotional voice, the shade and the color to the rest of the band. Throughout this musical tidal wave, melodic lines come and go, are picked up by some band members, then replaced by others, new forms arise, played with, transformed and replaced again. The storm also subsides at moments, leaving room for a slight breeze, with subtle phrasing and interaction, yet no less intelligent, with the four instruments interlocked while keeping the music open. And that's how the album ends, in a slow, abstract intense piece, full of calm and tension, alternating meditation with more power-driven moments, but all within the same open framework. A wonderful feat, and a beautiful one.

Buy or download from Leo Records.

Buy from Instantjazz.

Listen to a sample from Synopsis

© stef


Anonymous said...

just came across your blog ...fantastic...really impressive.. I will be a regular reader

Mr B

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, excellent jazz blog, ... I just would know more informations about "Collective 4tet - Transition cd" as the number tracks and their lenght... Thanks again to let me to discover new fantastic music!!!

Stef said...

Hi Gaejazzyn,

There are three tracks, each a little over 22 minutes.

And thanks.

Nuage fiché qui rêve said...

Thank you for the very useful reviews, Stef.
I knew recently about the Collective 4tet, some two years ago when buying cds online. I was instantly captured.
I didn't know about the passing of Jeff Hoyer. His trombone was notably remarkable in the sound and quality of the group.

Now owning four of the albums released on Leo records, I really look forward to this latest one.