Monday, November 24, 2014

New Releases: Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast - Settle; Joe Morris - Mess Hall; David Holmes - 71 Original Soundtrack


New from alto saxophonist, bass clarinetist and composer Ken Thomson and his quicksilver quintet Slow/Fast is their new release Settle. The album exhibits the kind of stylistic breadth and alert experimentation that one would expect from a leader famed for his work in both the worlds of new jazz and contemporary classical music. Thomson is joined by guitar phenomenon Nir Felder, trumpeter Russ Johnson, bassist Adam Armstrong and drummer Fred Kennedy.


Striking improvisations from the trio of Joe Morris on guitar, Steve Lantner on keyboards, and Jerome Dupree on bass – working here on material that's composed on the spot during performance, but which has a surprising sense of structure at times! Both Morris and Lantner use cycles of sound to their best advantage – spinning out elements that are noisy, but which really warm with familiarity – especially as they find a way to resonate strongly together. The drums can be intense one minute, looser the next – which provides a good sense of tension in the record – and titles include "Dirt Reverence", "Response Arena", "Advanced Animal", "Hymn Zone", and "Magnet Move".  ~ Dusty Groove


One of the darkest soundtracks we've ever heard from David Holmes – presented here as one single long piece of music, put together almost as an audio collage that evokes all the tension and black mood of the film 71! Holmes really stretches himself strongly here – and goes for these subtle, often lower-end sounds that kind of bubble together in the darkness, then emerge in different ways as the piece goes on – and if you only know the work of David Holmes from his funky or more retro-styled film scores, you'll be pretty stunned here! Individual passages include "The Hunt", "Where's The Soldier", "Escape From Divis", and "Aftermath" – but the whole thing runs together as one long work. ~ Dusty Groove

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