Jason Robinson — Tiresian Symmetry
(Cuneiform Rune 346, 2012, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-07-12Composer and saxophonist Robinson (also a member of Cosmologic) leads this nine-piece jazz ensemble through some treacherous and expansive material, driven by a combination of tasty melodic articulation and free-ish improvisation that is at times soothing and sensitive, and at other times borders on the bristly edge of total chaos. These are a bunch of great players though, and when they get behind a great idea they can push it home with finesse. The band features Robinson on tenor and soprano saxes, and alto flute, plus additional players covering guitar, bass, drums (two drummers, in fact), tuba, bass trombone, alto, bass and contrabass clarinet, c flute, glockenspiel, and even more saxes (alto and tenor)… did I forget anything? There are a lot of cooks in this kitchen, and their collective stew ranges from elements pastoral and serene to intense, complex, abstract, and outright disquieting. One never knows where these eight pieces are going next, and that surprise element is what keeps it interesting, and sometimes impenetrable. I’ve been playing this disc off and on for over six months trying to get my ears wrapped around it and figure out how to put what they do into words, and every time I push the play button, it’s like I’ve never heard it before. Listeners who like that kind of challenge will find plenty of it within these grooves; on the other hand those who shy away from the rich cornucopia of free improv and the honk-n’-squonk of a three sax plus brass front line might be better off moving along to the next review.
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
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more