Johnston / Shelton / Mezzacappa / Nordeson
Aram Shelton (as), Darren Johnston (t), Kjell Nordeson (d), Lisa Mezzacappa (b),
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Since the late fifties, Ornette Coleman’s music has inspired many projects. The music of Cylinder shares Ornette’s now-iconic chordless instrumentation (trumpet-reeds-bass-drums) – but the novelty here is in the way the harmolodic concept of the master saxophonist is applied through inventive compositions and creative musical structures. Darren Johnston, Aram Shelton, Lisa Mezzacappa and Kjell Nordeson do this with their own voices, not passively reproducing Ornette’s free jazz of the past – “Cylinder,” the album, is molded in history, but it’s not nostalgic. The members of this quartet, who each compose for the group, come not only from diverse geographical origins (Ontario, Florida, New York and Stockholm, all converging in San Francisco), but also from different practices in jazz and improvisation. We can find Johnston in avant-garde excursions and in straight-ahead contexts, and that says much about his personality. Shelton can be simultaneously lyrical and abrasive, making it impossible to attach his personal style with a specific jazz branch. Mezzacappa is oriented for a cross-current, going from jazz to chamber music to sound art. Nordeson is involved in many experimental and free-improvising bands, and composes for dance and intermedia art. This is music of the future made present, fresh compositions and bold musicianship heralding a new wave of creative music emerging from the West Coast.