The New York City Jazz Record review by Andrey Henkin


CF 261Michaël Attias – Spun Tree (CF 261)
Very often the term “composer” is amended to a musician’s name, meaning simply they write their own material. But in some cases, it is a defining classification. So it is with saxophonist Michaël Attias, who always maintains his aesthetic construction – often appealingly impenetrable – no matter the group, whether it be for his Credo sextet, the cooperative trio Renku, his Twines of Colesion quintet or now his new group Spun Tree. And the more one listens to Attias the player, the more it seems that his musicianship is, contrary to usual practice, informed by his composing. Spun Tree brings together new and old recording associations, the former represented by trumpeter Ralph Alessi, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tom Rainey, the latter bassist Sean Conly, the equivalent of a teddy bear for the first summer at sleep-away camp. With repeated listens to the group’s debut, a recollection forms: the first time this reviewer heard Andrew Hill’s Point of Departure. Spun Tree may be a tenor sax or bass clarinet short of that monumental recording but there is the same easy density and oblique movement. The players don’t stack upon one another but instead nestlein each other’s folds, making for remarkably organic improvisations within the compositional structure, itself deceptively open-sounding. The eight pieces range from the long exploratory opener “Bad Lucid” and martial ballad “No’s No” to slow-burning-then-exploding “Calendar Song” and Elfin dance “Ghost Practice” (lovely miniature “Arc-En-Ciel” was co-written with pianist Russ Lossing from Twines of Colesion). Attias’ voice is rarely the first (or second or third) one heard, demonstrating the intense faith he has in the music he has conceived and the players he has chosen to deliver it.

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  1. 1
    Kristine Liemandt

    I was there when Monsieur Attias blew his very first note. This beautiful review is no surprise, but sweet music to my ears. He is a born master and a force of nature. Thank you.

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