Roswell Rudd / Jamie Saft / Trevor Dunn / Balázs Pándi — Strength & Power
(RareNoise RNR060, 2016, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-06-01
Look at the list of names on the front cover. Roswell Rudd has been one of the most prominent trombonists in avant jazz since the 60s, having worked extensively with Archie Shepp and many others; Jamie Saft is gaining quite a name for himself as a versatile and inventive keyboard player in jazz styles ranging from latin to avant-noise in groups including Slobber Pup and Metallic Taste of Blood; Trevor Dunn first came to notice as the bassist in Mr Bungle, but has since engaged in a wide range of different situations in both rock and jazz; and Balázs Pándi is a drummer with similarly broad credentials, including several recordings with Saft. This recording has some similarities with Red Hill, which featured Saft and Pándi with Wadada Leo Smith and a different bassist. Saft sticks to piano on this outing, though it is sometimes prepared (and sometimes unprepared, I suppose you could say), and Dunn plays upright bass. The set is purely improvised, though the players aren’t afraid to settle into grooves that almost sound coordinated, if not composed. At other times they drift freely, without tempo or key, but there’s always an energetic feeling to the music. Elements of humor crop up as well, with Rudd occasionally throwing in a snip of a familiar melody, or the spot in “Struttin’ for Jah Jah” where Saft goes into an atonal stride piano part that Pándi picks up on, though it lasts only a little while before they move on. I hesitate to make a statement like, “This is free jazz that even people who don’t like free jazz will like,” because I can’t control what other people will like. Maybe I should say that they should like it. It’s just good music, consistently entertaining and inventive.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more