Live at Roulette
The Daniel Levin Quartet has already shown on prior recordings that a change of conventional instrumentation in a jazz combo is enough to explore an entirely different world of musical gesture, timbre, and expression. In the case of this latest release, Levin dispenses with his own convention of using song structures as the basis for improvisation. Instead, he gave trumpeter Nate Wooley, vibraphonist Matt Moran, bassist Peter Bitenc (and himself on violoncello) a set of words and concepts, and allowed the dialogue between the musicians to proceed in the most immediate fashion imaginable. You have to follow the individual movements in the large musical spectrum offered without expecting them to be in the usual place. You’ll soon find that’s the most interesting way to keep track of all the conversations established and the little games of tension the band creates. Everything moves, like in a Morton Feldman composition, with the difference that, here, there is the element of surprise provided by improvisation. Here is a music entirely of our time.