Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jason Stein Solo - "In Exchange for a Process"

The solo recital has long been a litmus test of Chicago-based jazz musos, ever since the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians’ ‘60s heyday. It’s how they work out their concepts, on the evening stage – truly growing up in public. Bass clarinetist Jason Stein (Long Island born, now based in the Windy City) carries on that tradition with this recording.

It’s unusual to find a player who concentrates exclusively on that big, unwieldy axe. For Eric Dolphy and David Murray, its best known advocates in jazz, it was just one color in a palette that included an array of other woodwinds. But don’t expect any homage to Dolphy’s “God Bless the Child” solo here. For as great as that trailblazing free jazz icon was, he was also working with a limited vocabulary of effects. You’d hear the same intervallic leaps in his solos with Charles Mingus or on his own records.

Stein is a cat of a different stripe, one who’s endeavoring to explore all the sonic possibilities of his instrument, and not just the tonal ones, either. To paraphrase a trumpet playing friend, he’s one of those guys that’ll do everything to the horn but play a melody on it: play multiphonics, work the pads, blow into the bell, whatever. In the almost claustrophobic intimacy of the solo setting, you can hear the player’s every breath and every vibration of the reed one minute, followed by what sound like feedback squawks and throat-clearing noises the next. Not everyone’s taste, perhaps, but the sounds Stein produces are, at least, consistently surprising.

Cop via www.leorecords.com.


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