Broo/Lane/Nilssen-Love/Vandermark – 4 Corners (CF 076)
I don’t remember ever hearing a double bassist playing a heavy metal-ish riff while plugged into a distortion pedal, but that’s the exact kind of welcome that I received with “Alfama (for Georges Braque)”, the furious opening track of this album. In “Tomorrow now (for Lester Bowie)”, he overdrives the arco, too. The Four Corners are occupied by Adam Lane (yes, THAT double bassist), Ken Vandermark (baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Magnus Broo (trumpet) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums). This must be one of the punkest jazz records of the decade, if memory serves; intoxicating grooves abund, the solos are indeed incendiary, alimented by equal doses of technical expertise and rage. What Vandermark plays in “Spin with the EARth” or at the beginning of “Lucia” is definable as uncolonized virtuosism, his lines creating instant angles and rapacious shrieks that animate incredibly energetical vortexes. A great surprise comes from Broo, until yesterday an unknown musician for this eternally ignorant writer, whose playing is at one and the same time propelled by the general excitement and supportive of an incoercible fantasy, which allows him to jump from the wagons of tonalities to find himself covered with the cactus spikes of multiple dissonant convergences. Nilssen-Love (“a drummer who seems to have four arms and four legs”) is captured in all his octopusness despite the quality of the live recording, his convulsive metres and muscular rumbles exalting the torrential shouting of his companions. Apart from Frankenstein-like “harmolodic-cum-funky” bass designs, Lane confirms himself a fine crafter of heavy-duty low register melodies, furnishing the quartet with a steady drive that projects them towards the high spheres of contemporary jazz. Still, the monster octave walk that moves “Ashcan Rantings” is not exactly what I call blasé, but it rocks like a dinosaur plucking a Fender Precision, or a five-meter-tall Jack Bruce. If you crawl to that piece’s conclusion, look for your hair to turn orange and blue.