Free Jazz review by Stef


Townhouse Orchestra – Belleville (CF 125)
This is the kind of chemical lab environment situation : put Evan Parker on tenor saxophone in a test tube, together with Scandinavia’s power rhythm section, consisting of Sten Sandell on piano, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums, then wait and see what happens. From a chemical reaction perspective, actually the strangest thing happens : you don’t need to add energy (heat, electricity, movement, …) before something takes place. Before you know it, the four start heating up, exchanging molecules and atoms, sizzling, boiling, smoking, splashing in all directions, overflowing at times, then, after lots of heat dissipation, the whole coagulated thing starts cooling down and desintegrating again, into a sax solo, a bass solo, some plucked piano strings, the odd cymbal clash, for some odd slow intermingling of colors and lines, mixing without energy, with a flash here and there, yet cooling down into an almost absolute calm. All jokes aside, it is in this superb variation of subtle sensitive and intimate moods which evolve into powerful expansive outbursts and then back again, that this music gets its unbelievable vitality. But there is more, the way these four musicians move together into the same musical direction is at times hard to grasp, especially because they move into uncommon regions, where sensitive hesitation and assertiveness reign together, creating interesting dialogues and, well, great and very coherent music. The two lengthy pieces, each 45 minutes long, allow for the musicians to take their time to create and expand.

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