Marshall / Travis / Wood — Bodywork
(33JAZZ, 1998, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1999-11-01
Guitar, sax and drums: an unsafe collaborative ground for three noted jazz players on their first album, Bodywork. John Marshall is familiar to those who recall his skilled drum work from Soft Machine 5 throughout the group’s later catalog. While Theo Travis is known from his live work with Planet Gong and sessions with Bill Bruford (among other more traditional endeavors), guitarist Mark Wood is the least known of the trio. Despite any pedigree, how these active listeners interject and communicate is the crux of a unique blend of both furious and intricate performance of musical juxtaposition. At times it’s to difficult to determine who has the melodic focus since it shifts so quickly between rhythm and counterpoint. Wood typically provides both jagged and textural backing as Travis crisscrosses the melodic landscape in a free flowing cascade of sixteenth notes over a steady delicate pulse. The guitarist’s delivery expels a rickety metallic ambient approach not unlike Elliot Sharp or David Torn. ECM ballad-like pieces such as “Eyes Like the Sun” and “Freefall” recall Terje Rypdal’s work by emanating a somber introspective mood amid eerie backdrops. “Speed” is probably the most successful sound experiment with Wood adding high atmospherics behind Marshall’s rimshots and Travis’ brash tenor sax. The punk jazz of “Gonzo” exhibits an Ornette Coleman / Material influence, driven by Wood’s fragmented jarring quarter note stabs. On this all improvised disc, this combo provides an eclectic interplay unlike any trio I have ever heard. I am certain a live show would be worth its weight in chance and electricity. The disc is highly recommended for fans of aggressive jazz improvisation (Laswell / Zorn) at its most challenging without total alienation.
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more