Last Clean Feed release of the year
Saxophonist Tony Malaby's new offering Tamarindo Live hits like a good old '70s loft recording. It features Malaby's trio with the estimable William Parker (perhaps the greatest living free bass player, with Henry Grimes) and Nasheet Waits (best known for kicking the traps with pianist Jason Moran's Bandwagon), augmented for an evening at NYC's Jazz Gallery by Mississippi-via-Chicago trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. The leader's acrid tones recall latter-day Archie Shepp, while the trumpeter's style bristles with blues and Ornettitude. Their loose unisons, with counterpoint from Parker, sketch out the tunes before their solos take off like winding tendrils, and the empathy between the force-of-nature rhythm players is a wonder to hear.
Colombian pianist Ricardo Gallo can be a two-fisted dynamo a la McCoy Tyner, crashing chords like waves on a reef and unleashing cascades of notes that scatter like salt spray. Or he can be a more contemplative composer in a Herbie Hancock vein, spinning delicate webs of song. The Great Fine Line is his latest release with his New York ensemble, Tierra de Nadie, including the Chicagoan multiphonics master Ray Anderson on trombone. The horns (Dan Blake plays soprano and tenor) negotiate Gallo's beguiling contrapuntal melodies, and the signature sound of the record's first half is the cacophony of their collective improvisations over the tunes' dancing rhythms. Comparisons being odious, I'll still admit to a preference for Pheeroan Aklaff's drumming, which serves the pieces better than Satoshi Takeishi's splashier, showier style. A rewarding listen.
Also noteworthy: HNH, a New York-based trio of Germans (drummer Joe Hertenstein, bassist Pascal Niggenkember, and trumpeter Thomas Heberer) whose music retains a distinctly European sensibility, one that's more cerebral and less visceral than American free jazz; Dreams From A Clown Car by Ken Filiano's Quantum Entanglements, in which Dennis Gonzalez familiars Filiano and drummer Michael T.A. Thompson play the leader-bassist's multihued compositions, aided by saxophonists Michael Attias and Tony Malaby; Afterfall, a multinational and stylistically diverse quintet led by guitarist Luis Lopes, who also plays in Humanization 4tet with Dennis' sons; and Dulces by Billy Fox's Blackbirds and Bullets, a world music-influenced jazz ensemble whose leader plays the maracas.
An impressive year for Clean Feed. Looking forward to hearing what they have to offer in 2011.