The New York City Jazz Record review by John Sharp

Nate Wooley – (Put Your) Hands Together (CF 218 )
Trumpeter Nate Wooley has won critical acclaim for his timbral adventurousness but none of that prepares the listener for the debut of his new band, which is a much more accessible and jazzy affair. To be fair, Wooley has regularly shown this side of himself in sideman dates with the likes of drummer HarrisEisenstadt but now he shows he can do it in his own style. One point of reference might be Eisenstadt’s Canada Day ensemble, which shares a rhythm section with the trumpeter’s quintet, in addition to Chris Dingman’s vibes as the chordal support for two horns. Wooley’s ten compositions, while conventional in shape, tend to be diverse in content, fully informed by his interest in strange timbres. Wooley bookends the set with two solo renditions of “Shanda Lea”, with a third duo version mid-program. The first is played fairly straight, setting out the Americana-tinged airplainly and with feeling, repeated like a mantra, but gradually becomes fractured and dissipated until only the occasional hints of the tune surface among the entropy. In the final reading, Wooley barely plays the tune at all, instead collating a series of susurrations, distortions and wah-wah tones until culminating in a squeaky whistle and a breathy downward sigh. In between, the brassman demonstrates that he has an ear for a well-turned melody. One of the pleasures of this disc is how the seemingly traditional forms get deconstructed and then finally pieced together again. “Hands Together” provides a case in point, starting with a bluesy refrain and loping rhythm that dissipates into a static hiss before the lurching screech of Josh Sinton’s keening bass clarinet resurrects the poised theme. Eisenstadt and bassist Eivind Opsvik mesh elegantly, adroitly switching in and out of tempoand purveying unsettling rhythmic contrasts, as on the insistent “Ethyl”. But lest everything is viewed from a postmodern perspective, the mournful elegiac “Hazel”is rendered simply and affectingly, another delightful surprise among many on this fine album.


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  1. 1

    this is an awesome review. I am a fan of Nate Wooley. I really am grateful how the reviewer describes the music. I have about ten of Nate Wooley’s works and each one is its own new adventure. I like that he does not devote himself to one single working formula but instead keeps pushing new ideas forward.

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