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James Finn

James Finn isn’t only one more saxophonist following the “stream of consciousness” style in current freebop jazz. He has an agenda in what concerns the tradition of fire music, inventing a present and a future for it, and like John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders and Gato Barbieri (reminiscences of the Argentinian player can be found in his album “Plaza de Toros”) before him, he’s a shouter. A tormented and passioned one, and the truth is that we can’t hear many musicians doing that these days (yes, there’s Ivo Perelmann, and... who else?), even if the present social, economical and political circumstances in the USA and the world call for a more interventive musical approach, like in the times when the New Thing was born. Not bad, for someone that played in Ben Harper’s band, much more “good vibes” oriented (as it happens in all pop music, “indie” included). Do you wonder why the former Cecil Taylor’s double bassist Dominic Duval plays regularly with him (and with Perelmann, by the way)? But don’t get it wrong: he also knows how to be soft – the lyrical “Eyes of Angelina” (in “Plaza de Toros”, his Clean Feed record) is an example. Afterall, he’s a Tai Chi and Wu Bu medition practitioner. There’s no violence in his music, but well controled energy. He learned to measure his expressive outputs with Andrew Cyrille and Jimmy Heath, two of his teachers, and his improvisations aren’t exactly “no prisoners taken” exercices: even if he plays freely, he studied the forms with which he could apply mathematical elements to his art, like the Fibonacci series and the golden numbers, and he even developed a twelve-tone system of his own.

James Finn's records on clean feed
Plaza de Toros
James Finn Trio
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