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An UnRuly Manifesto

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Modern Jazz / Indie Jazz
premiera polska:
2021-03-25
kontynent: Ameryka Północna
kraj: USA
opakowanie: digipackowe etui
opis:

Jazz Forum 1-2/2020, ocena * * * * *
Kto miał okazję usłyszeć kwintet Jamesa Brandona Lewisa na Warsaw Summer Jazz Days w 2019 roku, ten nie będzie się dziwił powyższej ocenie. Olśniewające, zniewalające, gęste granie. Do tej pory młody saksofonista z USA miał na koncie szereg zaskakująco różnorodnych płyt – od niełatwego formatu trio na „Divine Travels” (z Williamem Parkerem i Geraldem Cleaverem), przez niezwykle eklektyczny, przywodzący na myśl albumy Steve’a Colemana „Days of FreeMan”, po coltrane’owski duet z perkusistą Chadem Taylorem na „Radian Imprints”. Jednak z całej dyskografii zdecydowanie najbardziej dojrzała i nowatorska płyta to właśnie wydane w 2019 roku „An UnRuly Manifesto”.

Trzy elementy kwintetu (Lewis, Stewart, Pirgo) zacieśniały więzi grając na żywo z perkustistą Williamem Hookerem („Pillars… At The Portal”), legendą loftowego podziemia Stanów i wciąż szalenie aktywnym kreatorem muzyki. Do składu dokooptowani zostali Warren Crudup III, stały współpracownik Lewisa, oraz Jaimie Branch – trębaczka, realizatorka i zasłużone już postać chicagowskiego podziemia, ale dopiero od niedawna nagrywająca albumy pod własnym nazwiskiem. Z taką ekipą na pokładzie można zagrać wszystko. Można, na przykład, odlecieć w eksperymentach, dołączając kolejną cegiełkę to tony internetowych wydawnictw, które zapamięta niewielu. A można też przygotować najwyższej klasy kompozycje i zagrać je w sposób niepozostawiający, co do celowości całego przedsięwzięcia. I tak też się stało na tej płycie.

Trwające minutę, lekko podniosłe intro z zapętlonym pasażem gitary i uduchowionym spokojem dęciaków to moment na wyciszenie i przygotowanie się. W tytułowym utworze napięcie wzrasta – ale ze stopniowaniem godnym teatralnej sztuki. Od eterycznych akordów gitary, przez spiritul-jazzowy groove kontrabasu i perkusji, po pierwsze, jakby niezdecydowane dźwięki Jaimie Branch. Z już większą pewnością nadchodzi Lewis, zapraszając trąbką do coraz śmielszych dialogów.

Soliści są znakomici pod względem wyrazistości własnego, zdecydowanie oryginalnego brzmienia. Gęstniejący coraz bardziej utwór „po bożemu” zaczyna zwalniać i wyciszać się. Pokaz totalnej energii przychodzi w Sir Real Denard. Intensywny, jakby wyjęty z M-Base’u Colemana temat o hip-hopowej wibracji to pora na elektryczne (ale prowadzone jak na kontrabasie) solo Stewarta, po którym przychodzi wściekłe impro Piroga. Podobnym tropem podąży lider, ale wcześniej niesamowicie wcina się w tę dynamikę Branch – wolniej, ciszej, ale z czadem i niemal samymi trąbkowymi sonoryzmami.

Do melodyjnej części jazzu, na swój sposób klasycznej, zespół wraca wraz z The Eleventh Hour. Znów gitarowe pętle i unisona trąbki i saksofonu, znów fenomenalne improwizacje Branch i Lewisa, którzy dumnie pokazują, że cały czas jest miejsce na nowy głos w jazzie, bez naśladowania dawnych mistrzów czy czysto intelektualne, awangardowe rejony. Na totalne zburzenie tworzonego dotychczas ładu czas przychodzi w krótkim utworze o wymownym tytule Escape Nostalgic Prisons.

Na finał (pomijając 22-sekundowe outro) zespół przygotował prawdziwą perełkę. Haden Is Beauty, rozpoczęte cudowną hadenowską właśnie wstawką na basie, to pole do kolektywnej improwizacji, ale w ściśle jazzowych ramach. To jednocześnie transowy spektakl, i wykwintny pokaz tego, jak wszyscy mogą grać na raz, ale z sensem. Dedykowany wielkiemu basiście utwór to jak pieczęć nad całym albumem, splatającym post-bopowe myśli ze stricte współczesnym, kosmicznym jazzem. Kandydat do płyty roku? Absolutnie tak.
Autor: Barnaba Siegel

Editor's info:
New York tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis leads a quintet with Jaimie Branch on trumpet, Luke Stewart on bass, Anthony Pirog on guitar, and Warren Trae Crudup III on drums, in a free jazz album dedicated to Charlie Haden & Ornette Coleman and Surrealism, modern creative music with one foot planted in the 70s and one in the 2010s.

Rolling Stone
"There's no easy shorthand for James Brandon Lewis' musical M.O. Ever since his early releases - 2010's Moments, 2014's Divine Travels - the saxophonist has balanced a deep, gospel-informed spirituality with free-jazz abandon and hard-hitting funk-meets-hip-hop underpinnings.

"Sir Real Denard," a track from his new album An UnRuly Manifesto, shows how adept he's become at bridging different approaches. On one hand, it's a fierce rhythmic workout driven by the tireless bass-drums team of Luke Stewart and drummer Warren "Trae" Crudup III, both of whom also appeared on Lewis' 2016 effort No Filter, on the other, it's a platform for some heady, avant-leaning improv from the leader, guitarist Anthony Pirog (who turned up on a couple No Filter tracks and also works with Fugazi offshoot the Messthetics) and trumpeter Jaimie Branch.

The piece begins with a simple two-note riff, layered over Crudup's fleet, Stubblefield/Starks-esque beat. One by one, the members of the band take their turn at the fore, contrasting propulsive thrust with abstract grit. Stewart's bass feature builds from crisp, in-the-pocket figures to weird squiggles of sound, while Pirog's solo sounds like a nimble shred episode being swallowed up by a cloud of psychedelic noise. Branch offers up a fierce attack marked by static-y rasps, leading into Lewis' own powerhouse feature, which combines R&B muscle with bebop agility. Eventually, all the players swirl their sounds together, hinting at and playing off the track's central groove.

Like Radiant Imprints - Lewis' outstanding 2018 duo album with percussionist Chad Taylor, which featured reinterpretations of John Coltrane's work - An UnRuly Manifesto looks to the past for inspiration. Lewis writes on Bandcamp that it's "an album dedicated to Charlie Haden & Ornette Coleman and Surrealism." "Sir Real Denard" takes its title from one of Coleman's given names (the musician was born Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman) and a play on the word "surreal," a nod to Coleman's involvement in the 1982 surrealist writing anthology Free Spirits: Annals of the Insurgent Imagination. Eminent bassist and frequent Coleman collaborator Haden taught Lewis at Cal Arts.

But even a listener familiar with Coleman's own long-running funk-oriented project Prime Time, whose sometime bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma appeared on Lewis' 2015 album Days of FreeMan, wouldn't be likely to peg this as an overt homage. As "Sir Real Denard" shows, Lewis' aesthetic, like those of his heroes, contains multitudes.

Though it's not stated overtly, An UnRuly Manifesto also honors another late figure: Mike Panico, co-owner of Relative Pitch, the Brooklyn label that released the album. Tragically, Panico committed suicide in October 2018, and Manifesto was one of the last projects he had worked on along with his label partner Kevin Reilly.

"Mike Panico believed in the power of music," Lewis tells Rolling Stone in an e-mail. "He was super excited about this record and felt like it could touch many lives. His enthusiasm for music was intoxicating and that made me want to work with him. This is one of the last records he was able to put out, and for that I am thankful he believed, but the music is also a reminder of how beautiful he was as a person."
by Hank Shteamer

freejazzblog.org * * * * 1/2
During Winter Jazz Fest 2018, I caught a whiff of saxophonist James Brandon Lewis' group that recorded An UnRuly Manifesto. At the time, I thought it was one of the best set that I caught at the festival and the recording does not dispel the notion.

Last year Lewis released a duo recording called 'Radiant Imprints' (see review below), that demonstrates his big, fiery, but never unruly, tenor sound with only the spare backing of Chad Lewis’ drums. On An UnRuly Manifesto he fronts a quintet, featuring his trio members (heard on No Filter from 2017) Luke Stewart on bass (check out Stewart’s own solo recording), Warren Trae Crudup III on drums, and augmented by trumpeter Jaimie Branch and guitarist Anthony Pirog. In the spirit of the aforementioned recordings, the music here is a well considered blast of energy generously comprised of free, funk, and fact-finding parts.

The first track, "Year 59 Insurgent Imagination", really just an intro, begins the album with an appeggiated figure from the guitar and a slow melody from the two horns, it then settles into a deep ostinato, with a repetitive chord pattern and moving bass line on the title track. Branch delivers the first salvo here, a tuneful introduction of the melody, to which Lewis then replies. However, the restraint is palpable, and the first bit of tension is released when Lewis and Branch deliver a tandem melody. Finally, Lewis is let go. He begins building a ever fiercer solo statement over the rumble of Crudup's drumming and Stewart's bass. The 10 minute track is reminiscent of the modal 'spiritual' jazz, and is a wonderful gateway into the music of An UnRuly Manifesto.

Following this is another short introductory track, "Pillar 1 A Joyful Acceptance", a melodically soothing ride on the Love Boat for a few seconds before "Sir Real Denard"'s. tight funk groove. Stewart gives an abstract electric bass solo, tweaked with effects, that segues into a sensory guitar solo, then into a squishy trumpet passage. However, the whole time the action is with the drummer whose taught pulse and precise hits and rolls, is in ... umm ... harmolodicism with the others. "The Eleventh Hour", a slow burner, provides, at first at least, some relief from the intensity of the previous track. However, by mid-point, concentric guitar and bass riffs, raise the pressure quite a bit, pushing and pulling and playing with dynamics, and giving Lewis the space to stretch out with one of his earthy, funky, and simultaneously out there excursions. Later, "Escape Nostalgic Prisons" is a fierce freely improvised piece where the group goes for broke, but something in the interactions still keeps it grounded.

Perhaps that is what I like about this album the most - it stays rooted in fecund soil even as it stretches out, sprouting ideas and new lush greenery as it goes. The core trio of Lewis, Stewart, and Crudup, are pretty unbeatable team and adding the other instruments is a masterstroke. Pirog's guitar work is formidable but always serves to better the whole organism, Branch's trumpet work adds color and light. Final assessment: totally worth your precious pennies!
By Paul Acquaro

muzycy:
James Brandon Lewis-tenor saxophone
Jaimie Branch-trumpet
Luke Stewart-bass
Anthony Pirog-guitar
Warren Trae Crudup III-drums

utwory:
1. Year 59: Insurgent Imagination 1:00
2. An UnRuly Manifesto 11:44
3. Pillar 1: A Joyful Acceptance 0:32
4. Sir Real Denard 8:39
5. The Eleventh Hour 9:21
6. Pillar 2: What Is Harmony 0:35
7. Escape Nostalic Prisons 4:18
8. Haden Is Beauty 8:25
9. Pillar 3: New Lived, Authority Died 0:22

wydano: January 31, 2019
nagrano: Recorded at The Jackfields, on March 9th, 2018, by Mike Reina.

more info: www.relativepitchrecords.com



RPR1078

Opis

Wydawca
Relative Pitch (USA)
Artysta
James Brandon Lewis
Instrument
tenor saxophone
Zawiera
CD
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