Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

ELLIOTT SHARP TRIO – Aggregat (CF 250)
Aggregat was born from Elliott Sharp’s interaction with bassist Brad Jones and drummer Ches Smith. The leader alternates tenor and soprano saxophones with guitar in twelve tracks whose level of verve is refreshingly high, from start to end. We’re introduced to unexpected aspects of Sharp’s playing in the opening tune “Nucular” – a tribute to Sonny Rollins – to the point that on a distracted first listen I found myself wondering why there was no mention of a saxophonist in the group, totally forgetting that the instrument was handled by E#. The tasty tone and sensual melodic content of that track is soon forgotten with the consecutiveness of the subsequent chapters. The customary outrageous combinations of stormy dirtiness and agglomerative structures visualized by Sharp on the fretboard, together with his avant-bluesy cries, are always something to be heard. Other methods of reed-based expression privilege squawking anti-patterns and headstrong repetition over the deceiving weightlessness of the record’s beginning. Jones’s robust timbre pervades the interplay with silently charismatic wisdom, while Smith’s drumming is expertly wayward, conscious of where accents need to fall to propel the pieces in the name of an unaffected restlessness. The trio’s improvisational shoulders are broad enough to sustain heavy burdens: no chance of getting confused in the constant shifts of outpouring energy.

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