Exposé Online banner

Alchemy Sound Project — Further Explorations
((Not on label) ARC-2666, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-11-05

Further Explorations Cover art

Alchemy Sound Project is billed as a “composer-performer collective.” It features five principal members, each of whom is responsible for two compositions in the set, along with a couple of non-composing guests to fill out the sound. In order of their pieces’ appearance, the writers are Salim Washington (various woodwinds), Erica Lindsay (tenor sax), Samantha Boshnack (trumpet, flugelhorn), Sumi Tonooka (piano), and David Arend (double bass); the guests are Willem de Koch (trombone) and Max Wood (drums). To generalize, the music falls into an amorphous post-bop realm of jazz, with sophisticated tonalities and unconventional arrangements, though not totally divorced from swing. All of the composers take advantage of the tonal palette available with the septet, along with the opportunities for polyphony. At times, I’m reminded of how Birth of the Cool expanded the perception of what jazz could sound like, an expansion that was furthered by numerous artists in the following decades, taking lessons from 20th Century classical music, non-European traditions, and (later) rock into the fold. There’s not much rock influence here, though a few tunes feature insistent bass lines with a straighter rhythmic feel than bop would have. There are many highlights. One is Tonooka’s “Waiting,” which starts with a wistful melody on flute backed by dense piano chords, then builds gradually, trading melodies around between the instruments, climaxing in a moment of chaos before dropping back down and building again, this time to an outstanding tenor solo, then piano, then a section where several of the players improvise together, almost in the manner of a Dixieland tune. “Alchemical” is a Boshnack tune with some herky-jerky interlocking parts and a manic piano solo full of dissonant clusters. “Beta,” written by Lindsay, is another favorite. It features a great bass line that has a slightly latin feel to it, and Washington plays oboe, giving the ensemble parts a distinctive flavor. But these are only a few of the many great moments on Further Explorations. None of the tracks is weak, and the playing is excellent throughout. The amount of talent on display here is impressive — here’s hoping it gets some notice as one of the year’s outstanding jazz releases.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Alchemy Sound Project

More info
http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/AlchemySoundProject

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Church of Hawkwind - Church of Hawkwind – [this was written about the 1994 reissue on Griffin Records - ed.] The 1982 incarnation of Hawkwind that wrote Church of Hawkwind comprised Dave "Baron von" Brock, Harvey Bainbridge, Huw...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues