Friday, April 30, 2010

Oliver Lake, Paul Smoker, Scott R. Looney, Lisle Ellis - Urban Ruminations (Metaphysical, 2010) ***½

These are four musicians from whom you could expect that improvising together would be a great match : all four are rooted in, but have gone beyond the free jazz idiom in their latest individual recordings, and together they move now into the more contemporary world of free improv or even free music, if those categories do apply. The musicians are Oliver Lake on sax, Paul Smoker on trumpet, Scott R. Looney on piano and prepared piano, and Lisle Ellis on bass.The absence of percussion increases the already abstract level of the improvisations.This leads to some intense interplay, but also moments of eery calm, like the wonderful duet between Looney and Smoker in "Pinnacles". The music was recorded in 2005, partly live and partly in the studio, with Smoker, Looney and Lake planning to perform, and with Lake who happened to be in town, joining the fun.

They switch between the raw, intense and chaotic, to calm, meditative and even sweet moments, moving from unclear possibilities, to moments when it all comes together neatly, is a nice thing to hear. Unfortunately the album ends with the recitation of poetry by Oliver Lake.

A nice album.

© stef

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