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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Phil Hargreaves, Lee Noyes & Bruno Duplant - Malachi (Insubordinations, 2009) ****½

This is a piece of modern jazz that I really like. A sax trio that improvises freely, without melody and rhythm, yet with a very controlled and sensitive approach to their music. It all sounds vulnerable and hesititating, which is surprising for musicians that have their background in experimental electronic music and punk, but who play purely acoustic here. The trio consists of Phil Hargreaves on sax, Lee Noyes on percussion and Bruno Duplant on bass. All pieces fall within the same mode of playing: soft, slow, with lots of open spaces and with the three instruments filling the open space with pointillistic phrases and sounds, but sufficiently extended to create a great sense of lyricism. Total free form often leads to a level of abstraction that makes listening difficult, but that is less the case here : the music flows organically, through very concentrated interaction, with lots of respect for each other and the fragile music they create. Yet it intense throughout, and that's possibly the greatest result of the music : the slow tension full of contradictions between freedom and form, between openness and density, between avant-garde and sometimes simple phrases. But it works. It works really well.

This album is available for free download on the internet, or in hard copy in limited edition. In my humble opinion, this again demonstrates the lack of knowledge of many labels. This trio deserves to be officially released. While the summer jazz festivals are crammed with commercial artists who are hard to classify as jazz, the real creative jazz artists are kept far away from the undiscerning multitudes. Too bad, too bad. How can we bring the new and creative jazz under a broader attention? It was the objective of this blog, but we're preaching to the converted...

Listen and download from Insubordinations.

© stef


CraigM said...

Hi Stef -- I hear you, regarding the summer festivals and the lack of avenues to reach new ears. Too bad indeed.

Don't get discouraged! The work you're doing here certainly helps, by providing a resource for anyone who wants to explore this music.

As for the summer jazz festivals, they're mostly unimaginative and frequently non-jazz, but surprises pop up here and there. It's not easy, to be sure. But on those occasions when someone at one of those festivals wants to try something new, a site like yours gives them evidence of support for creative new music. I do think it helps, so keep up the good work.