Improvijazzation Nation by Dick Metcalf

CF 151Samuel Blaser Quartet – PIECES OF OLD SKY (CF 151)
The opener and title track, “Pieces Of Old Sky”, threw me for a loop, since the liners indicated it was music “between hard bop and free jazz”… as you listen to this 17:04 epic, you’ll know that it’s more inclined in the direction of “free”… there’s a great little vid at YOUTUBE, and I’m definitely recommending that you check that out. Thomas Morgan’s double bass sets the mood, but even when Samuel slides in, the pace stays at a moderate level, with crisp drums/cymbals from Tyshawn Sorey & great guitar from Todd Neufeld… lots of room for listeners to “fill in the holes” with their own interpretations of what “pieces” are in their sky… a wonderful piece of music. If you want something with a slightly more energetic pace, you’ll really dig “Red Hook” – it’s my favorite cut on the CD… superb arrangements and changes that will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire 8 minutes the track lasts! I’m used to trombone players that sort of “take over” the music, but Blaser is a master at making sure that everyone gets in the mix – and that makes the jazz come ever more alive for me… great balance between the players here. What’s most impressive about the musical experience this great quartet creates for you is that it’s “out”, but very accessible… when they move into the ether zone, their changes are gentle enough for you to stay with, and each of the players seem to be very sensitive to the idea that launching off (too quickly) into massive sound attacks isn’t the sum total of what “free” means… don’t get me wrong – they get there, but they know you’re listening & they make every last one of their transitions something pleasurable for your ears. I am very highly impressed & give this CD a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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