Briggan Krauss - alto saxophone and clarbone
Chris Speed - tenor saxophone and clarinet
Myra Melford - piano
Mark Dresser - bass
Andrew Drury - composer, drum set
I had a chance to see Andrew Drury live on stage with the EDGE Quartet last year and it was also the occasion on which I was presented with the cd in hand, given the urge to present reviews of the most recent releases, I didn't decided to write about it at that particular time. Anyway Andrew Drury is coming back to Poland for a series of concerts and it's a good occasion to get back to the cd which made a a great deal of impression on me, and, although I've no idea is it's even still available, I hope you'll take the chance to see Andrew on stage if he's playing anywhere nearby.
Andrew Drury, the drummer, leader and composer of the music assembled a stellar sextet for the release with Eyvind Kang on violin, Briggan Krauss and Chris Speed on saxes (the interplay, the detail of intrensic linear, sonoric correlations between those three are spectacular), Myra Melford on piano (her usual prime, dynamic and expressive form), Mark Dresser on bass (monster sound, heavy, low yet agile and filled with finesse). This kind of list sets your expectations pretty high doesn't it.
Drury's composition (as the initial "The Schwartzes" or "Geek's Revenge") pair together dynamic rhythm changes and short, expressive melodies. In the "Vaxjo Kollektiv" a folkish tune is build into canon (?) form and the three leading instruments chase each other creating moving landscapes and touching harmonies. "Copalis" is as lyrical and touching a melody you can immagine and Eyving Kang's crystal clear violin's sound is like a tear of sorrow.
The musicianship is extraordinary and it's enough to hear the first notes struck together by this ensemble to understand the power that lays within this group. Dresser's is a heavyweight champion on bass (check the raw arco sound in "Some Powerful Women / Why" or the sharp, strucked groove in Geek's Revenge - a ferocious piece based on a single jagged and cut chord), the subtle interplay beetween the three frontmen's in their explosive solo statements, cutting the air with series of creative outbusrsts of sounds or sew it together with precious unisonos and delicate harmonies.
The music combines the the dynamite energy with the avant-guarde edge, a hint of improvisation's maddness and classical discipline and technical brilliance. When they get lyrical, it's haunting (delicate line of clarinet against hear-breaking choir of alto, violin and majestic piano progressions in "Some Powerful Women / Why" or the aforementioned "Copalis"), when they get energetic, it's pure passion ("Keep The Fool" ends the cd with cascades of piano chords and furious drumming along).
This is a most masterfull and impressive set hard-edged, modern jazz, with perfect balance between the intricant composition and execution. If you find it, don't hesitate to take it - almost a decade after original release this music stays fresh and energetic as if played yesterday. Given the painfull lack of any samples on the web the I'll try to prove the statement with some excerpts in the next radio playlist. Stay tuned then.
some tracks from the cd are presented in this radio playlist.
Andrew Drury with Jack Wright will play in Krakow in Bomba club this thursday, don't miss it