Angelica Sanchez – Life Between (CF 128)
Not that keyboardist Angelica Sanchez’ 2008 release is derivative, but she yields fruitful dividends with New York sax hero Tim Berne’s frequent collaborators, bassist Drew Gress, drummer Tom Rainey and guitarist Marc Ducret. With her hybrid free-structured compositional frameworks, Sanchez’ imparts spatial metrics while spinning a distinct soundscape, framed on free jazz-fusion, free-jazz and progressive jazz. While blossoming tenor sax titan Tony Malaby unleashes his largely, power-packed assault throughout.
Sanchez toggles between her acoustic and Wurlitzer electric pianos atop loose groove rhythmic undercurrents while dishing out hard-hitting unison choruses with her band-mates. On “Black Helicopters,” Ducret’s sinister e-guitar phrasings ride atop the rhythm section’s asymmetrical flows, contrasted by the leader’s fractured and mesmeric chord clusters. And the band does transmit a cunning blend of high-impact and highly electric motifs while generating angular and peppy free-bop themes coupled with dark voicings during “Blue & Damson.”
Sanchez executes an ethereal and somewhat investigative forum via her softly rendered phrasings, segueing to complex and driving movements on “Life Between.” Here, the band conveys a notion or two of seeking answers to life’s anomalies. Therefore, the album projects a potpourri of mood-evoking musical vistas, where momentum and restraint loom as vital elements. Soloing is invigorating and the group-centric interplay will at times knock you off your seat. (A top pick for 2008)