Johnson, Max – “Hermit Music” – [Unbroken Sounds]

davidjames   3/5/2023   A Library

A most unusual recording. Hermit Music is virtuosic, expressive solo contrabass.   

Five contrasting rhythmic/harmonic schemes — both pizzicato and arco — reveal a highly malleable and wide-open creative space.  These are pensive, reflective moments; the master composer effectively draws us into a very personal world.  From the album notes, “This album represents who I am right now, and I am proud to share it with you”.  All of the tracks are of excellent quality. 

~David James

Schubert, Frank Paul, Kazuhisa Uchihashi and Klaus Kugel – “Black Holes are Hard to Find” – [Nemu]

davidjames   2/20/2023   CD, Jazz

Highly atmospheric and exploratory alto and soprano saxophones, guitar/electronics, and percussion.  Seven contrasting pieces move in and out of various grooves and moods; highly pantonal, and polyrhythmic. The fantastic, extended title track is replete with rhythmic invention; a masterful performance by the trio.  All of the tracks flow together orchestrally; this group really knows how to stretch out. The closest historical parallel might be music by the late Steve Lacy, the soprano saxophonist, if that description works.  Five stars!

~David James

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