Thursday, January 25, 2024

Drazek/Fuscaldo/Drake/Aoki/Jones/Abrams - June 22 (Astral Spirits, 2023)

By Guido Montegrandi

There is an underground stream that starts from Don Cherry Organic Music and the Art Ensemble of Chicago and meanders through improvised music, finally reaching our days; a flux particularly vital in the works of the Natural Information Society and the Drazek - Fuscaldo extended duo. It has to do with rhythm and use of words and voices and instruments, it creates an experience that focuses the listeners and the musicians on something basic, elementary and yet complex, organic indeed.

Przemyslaw Krys Drazek - trumpet, electrical guitar and Brent Fuscaldo - voice, classical and electric guitar, percussion, harmonica who are at the core of this record are joined by Thymme Jones - piano, melodica, drum kit and walkie talkie, Tatsu Aoki - shamisen, upright bass, Joshua Abrams (founder of the Natural Information Society) - upright bass and Hamid Drake – percussion, frame drum, drum kit. All of them, in different configuration and instrumentation, contribute to create diverse but consistent combination of sound in the four tracks that make up the album.

A constant characteristic is pulsating bass lines and a chanting voice often embraced into a nebula of sounds on which the trumpet draws its lines.

The final minutes of 'Blossoming' are a direct link to Don Cherry's 'Chenrezig' (from Brown Rice) with the Padmasambhava mantra that appears to spring from the music itself and indeed there seems to be more than a connection with the ideas Cherry was developing in the 70s even if here music sounds deconstructed and exposed in its bare bones. All of the pieces in this album are the result of a constant agglomeration and separation of sonic fragments evolving and dying just like living organisms.

The words chanted by Fuscaldo in the opening track evoke a possible key to the listener:

Weaving tongues

on the leaves of all your majestic kinfolk
changing hues in the clouds for the setting sun
scribbling in the air like a dragonfly
the words to a prayer that's been hidden in time
back and forth
weaving back and forth with tongues
higher and lower realms
snake is eating its own tail

My personal impression is that of a music which creates a sense of communion between the players and the listeners - a beautiful gift in this bleak midwinter.

On Youtube you can find the recording of a live streaming concert of December 8, 2023:

The record is available on Bandcamp for purchase and download.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great jazz album…

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