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.
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more