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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jazz Free - A Connective Improvisation (There Records, 2012) ****

By Paul

'Jazz Free: A Connective Improvisation' seems to have come out of nowhere. There is very little information about it online (as of this writing), though there is brief mention of it on Weasel Walter's website, indicating that it was to be released soon ... but with such an all-star cast of musicians, I am simply glad that it has appeared.

If you believe in packaging, what little there is for this album says that it's 'certified 100% jazz free', a subtle but meaningful switch of the words. The music within is improvised rock with even a bit of country twang thrown in. There are liberal sprinklings of electronics and free percussion which adds complexity and texture, but it's more or less a straight ahead improvised rock affair.

With avant-garde guitarist Henry Kaiser on board along with Cline and Walter, I was expecting a more 'out there' affair, but I'm just as pleased to delve into this guitar driven jam session. Rounding out the group is guitarist Jim Thomas and bassist Allen Whitmen from the psychedelic rock group The Mermen, whose group's name is a reference to Hendrix's "1983, A Merman I Should Turn to Be." This aspect is probably most descriptive of the type of music that this session produced.

I wouldn't classify this one as groundbreaking, but it's a hell of a lot of fun and there are some really great moments of synergistic blistering and bliss. I would not doubt that this album is the aural stepping stone that some rock listeners need to suddenly find themselves possessing the urge to delve further and further into the unknown.

Good summertime listening indeed.

Available through eMusic, iTunes, etc.


Sherm Clow said...

I've always been a big fan of the Mermen, they often do extended improvisations within a sort of psychedelic surf music form. Ads Nels and Henry and you have a mix for some way out stuff. It pretty much all works on this release, some mind blowing stuff. All the musicians work really well together, and are able to hold the "tunes" together when they reach extremes. And it sounds like a real jam session, not phoned in parts. Hightly recomended.