Free Jazz-Stef

We find Daniel Carter back in a totally different environment with Claire DeBrunner on bassoon, Ken Silverman on guitar, and Tom Zlabinger on bass. Carter uses some small percussion to emphasise rhythms once in a while. The sound of the bassoon is possibly the most determining for the overall sound, yet it must be said that Silverman’s unconventional guitar-playing and Zlabinger’s often hypnotic bass playing are really good.

All the pieces have a great sense of pulse and forward movement, with sounds interweaving freely, leading to sometimes beautiful and fragile soundscapes, sometimes haunting like “Dumbo Twilight”, sometimes more explicitly rhythmic like “Riff Tide”, sometimes more abstract such as “Life Rattle”.

The music is hard to qualify. It is jazz in a way, but it’s equally open to new music and modern classical. I did not know DeBrunner, but the way she uses her bassoon in a context like this is of course highly unusual, yet at the same time a kind of revelation. True, I recently also reviewed albums with Sara Schoenbeck and Katherine Young on bassoon, yet there is a difference in approach.

Totally different than “The Perfect Blue”, the album is equally rewarding, for its openness, subtlety and adventurous lyricism. Again a great demonstration of Carter’s versatility. His home is where true emotions can be expressed, regardless of style or genre.

If there’s a downside to the album, then it’s the fade-outs, which – as regular readers know – I really hate: why stop great music in mid-action? Would anyone watching a soccer game or a basket-ball match be pleased when the last ten minutes were never shown? Same with music, I think.

—Stef