Before listening to this, I had read that Weiss and his compatriots were examining the edge between Jazz and Heavy Metal.
Indeed, this is pretty heavy.
But, not exactly “Metal”. Or, if it is Metal, it is very eclectic Metal.
In any case, many of the tracks remind me more of King Crimson than anything else. I guess, another band that explored the edges of Prog, Metal, and Jazz.
Trevor Dunn and Dan Weiss, Bass and Drums, are often channeling what sounds like Discipline era Crimson. While Ben Monder is a bit more eclectic. I’m going to say, more early years Robert Fripp, than later. Plus, two keyboardists, Matt Mitchell and Craig Taborn. Though, their keyboarding is fairly sparse. No banks of lush chords.
But it isn’t particularly “Jazz”. Very little of what I consider Jazz idioms or Forms show up. The odd fusion chord change is about it for the Jazz content on this release.
If you enjoy, say, Nels Cline Singers, or the aforementioned King Crimson, you will probably enjoy this.
Bells For The South Side (Disc 2) by Roscoe Mitchell.
When we lived in Madison, WI, Roscoe Mitchell was a professor in the music department at the University of Wisconsin. He would frequently bring the groups he was involved in through town, and I was lucky to see many permutations of his sound.
We were also lucky to be close enough to Chicago that it was close enough to drive down and see many more concerts related to the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The concerts documented on this recording were recorded as part of an exhibit, called The Freedom Principle, at the Museum of Contemporary Art celebrating the contributions of artists associated with the AACM to world culture.
Roscoe Mitchell, and the AACM, have been a huge part of my musical mind space for many years, and this release is a sort of summary of his work, from what has passed, to what is to come.
Bells For The South Side (Disc 1) by Roscoe Mitchell.
At some point, during the first track on this album, “Spatial Aspects of Sound”, I found myself asking, “What differentiates a discrete series of sound events from music?” Which reminded me of a workshop I attended with Ben Goldberg, where we talked about using silence, as well as sound, with intent, in your playing.
I feel like the ghosts of Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi, (and maybe even a little Dave Brubeck,) are hovering over this release from Mr Taborn. Everything seems so pleasant and relaxed, as if a benign, warm, Southern California sun is beaming down kindly.
A set of 16 composed and improvised duos between Kris Davis and a variety of collaborators: Don Byron, Tim Berne, Marcus Gilmore, Billy Drummond, Angelica Sanchez, Craig Taborn, Julian Lage, and Bill Frisell. All the pieces have their own charm, but I am especially fond of the piano duos with Craig Taborn.