Charles Rumback – Two Kinds of Art Thieves (CF 152)
On his debut solo effort, drummer Charles Rumback and fellow proponents of Chicago’s fertile progressive-jazz and improvisational scene bypass conventional norms throughout this curiously interesting endeavor. Somewhat animated in scope, the music iterated here features the dual sax attack of Joshua Sclar (tenor) and Greg Ward (alto), all firmed up by bassist Jason Ajemian’s loose and pliant bottom-end.
The quartet varies the overall pitch with either riotous free-form interplay or when engaged in probing choruses, enamored by the saxophonists’ yearning lines and soulful exchanges. However, it’s not just a knockdown, drag-out, free-jazz blowing session by any stretch. In effect, the musicians think more about artistic expression, as opposed to embarking upon a relentless pursuit of technical bravado.
During many of these climactically engineered passages, Rumback executes lightly rolling tom patterns to present an expansive backdrop for the soloists’ lyrically rich phrasings, often coated with vocal attributes. They dive into cavernous lows, and sonorous theme-building exercises, while traversing through hidden valleys and occasionally into movements that spark notions of a self-healing process. But they up the ante with a keen sense of the dynamic. And they finalize the set with a buoyant jazz dirge motif on “We Left Green Briar Park.” Loaded with gusto and verve, Rumback also layers a transcendental aura within these pieces. It’s music with a distinct persona, unlike many other offerings of this ilk.