Friday, January 28, 2011

Oluyemi Thomas, Sirone, Michael Wimberly - Beneath Tones Floor [NoBusiness]

Beneath Tones Floor

Oluyemi Thomas - bass clarinet, flute, soprano, musette, percussion
Sirone - bass
Michael Wimberly - drums, percussion

NoBusiness Records 2010

To balance the content of last couple of reviews (big groups, orchestral compositions, string quartets etc) I jumped into the music of this improvising trio, and it's quite a big contrast.

This is free-jazz at its best. With fantastic musicianship throughout, with ideas flowing freely in and out, with the band members both reacting to one another and pushing each other forward, sometimes acting like three minds in one body. A journey, a mystical revelation, a metaphysical experience. 

Sirone is absolutely impressive, in complete command of the sound, squeezing out all kinds of creative forces from the bass (deep woody tone in "Newest Happines and Joy", gently, mournfull arco in "Heavenly Wisdom", raw and powerfull in "Mystic Way"). Wimberly's playing is delicate, full of subtleties, with polyrhythmic, pulsating touches of Africa everywhere, a heir of Ed Blackwell maybe (listen to how he begins "Dream Worlds" or "Silence On The Move"). Oluyemi Thomas inspired and spiritual playing expands the sonic palette of a common free-jazz trio with the ancient and ethnic sound of musette, flute or extended techniques on bass clarinet (crying overtones and deep blues lines in the "Heavenly Widom").
This playing comes directly from the early traditions of AACM -  shamanic ritual, musicians channeling universal forces of nature, prophets of sound. The music of joy, of compassion, of life affirmation, creation of free and untamed minds and souls, wild and passionate. The spritual value is underlined by the titles like "Reflections of Silence, Painting Silence, Images of Silence" or "..where Sacred Lives" (or the ones mentioned earlier). This could be recorded 40 years ago, or 40 years into the future, or even 4 centuries back, the music is so timeless, its emotional charge and impact wouldn't be affected.

As much as it defies the time, it does defy also the verbal perception. A pure joy of listening, not to be missed by any free-jazz fan.

samples can be listened to on

ps1. The cd (there's also an LP version - 2 tracks shorter) is accompanied by volume "Language of sings" with poetry by Ijeoma C. Thomas. 
ps2. It sounds only too trivial to say that it could have easily challenged my top 2010 list had it been released sooner than december. This might also be the last Sirone's recording, hard to think about it, especially since it presents some of the most engaging, strong and vital bass playing I've heard in a while.

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