Album Review

Thirteenth Assembly, The – “Station Direct” – [Important Records]

Thurston Hunger   8/30/2013   CD, Jazz

2011 release from this quartet. Mary Halvorson has been
plucking various KFJC ears as of late; a guitarist of notes,
clean but brambly notes. Her angular playing is a pretty
strong focus, through-out. Her work here and in the past
with violist Jessica Pavone is a nice contrast, as she
tends to have less ragged, more serene sweeps on her
strings. Check out the muted twists of Ho Bynum on
“Randall Clasper” more anguished there, but on “Station” he
really revs ’em up. At other times he’s usually doubled
up with one of the ladies. For me the best moments come
when drummer Tomas Fujiwara is allowed to wear his Bernard
Purdie shirt (on “Coming Up” and “Prosthetic Chorizo”) the
pressure cooker kicks in and this album makes a move for
the dance floor instead of the chess club. Don’t get me
wrong, all moves are appreciated…but this is a brainy
day dream for the most part. “Long Road” is indeed a windy
track, and ironically its best parts come with Fujiwara
in check, although he does close strong. But that has
nice solo and duo work between the others in a sort of
quiet exploration that could work for your more spacy
moments and spacier DJ’s.
-Thurston Hunger

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