Chicago has had an experimental streak in its jazz for some time, with classic free jazz masters (like the Art Ensemble of Chicago) built from the electric blues that hailed from the city. A.J. Kluth's second outing for OA2 shows a new combination of Chicago influences. With a focus on space, pacing, and timbre more than melody, Anvils and Broken Bells manages to become a sonically interesting set. The horns may honk their way through a piece's opening in tandem, but eventually a melodica, with its almost backmasked sound, comes into the scene. A thrashing drum fill changes the pace, and an electric guitar takes over for the rest of a piece. Then, the whole system is reset, wound up, and put back into motion for a new round. The bandmembers work together solidly on the set, all following the composition leads, and all contributing to the controlled chaos that each piece demands. Kluth himself makes headway on the sax, often in tandem with James Davis' trumpet, but the real star of the proceedings is guitarist Toby Summerfield, who evokes bits of John McLaughlin in his electric flights, powering the pieces into and through massive crescendos of sound and leading them into quiet dissipations. It's experimental, it's brash, and it's excellent modern jazz.
What would be the result of a meeting between jazz, rock, country, and improvisational music? Find out on Anvils and Broken Bells, the second release from saxophonist AJ Kluth. Kluth's musical odyssey explores new ground with a new ensemble, Aldric, a collective comprised of some of the most in demand musicians on the Chicago scene. Led by AJ Kluth, saxophone and melodica, the band also includes guitarist Toby Summerfield, trumpeter James Davis, drummer Quin Kirchner and bassist Dan Thatcher. Eight original numbers are featured on the disc including the riveting "Saskatoon" which is a moody gem informed by Kluth's melodica and Summerfield's guitar. A solid, riveting session.
Tenor saxophonist, based in Chicago. Second album. Group is electric -- electric guitar ("many buttons & knobs"), electric bass, with both Kluth and trumpeter James Davis credited with effects. Fusion, I suppose, but not a throwback to the 1970s jazz fusion stuff (though maybe Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath): dense sheets of sound, heavy on the heavy, occasional fast breaks. B+(*)
I Am Wearing A Velvet Jacket enjoyed a spot as the Free Daily MP3 at All About Jazz. Editor's comment:
So, Paul Motion, Kenny Wheeler, Joe Lovano, and Bill Frisell get lost at sea on a boat. It begins to storm and the wind picks up. The steering is shot, the boat spins out of control, and they decide to spend their last moments alive playing out. That's kinda what this song is like. Pretty cool. Jazz from the Chicago scene, and another strong release from the Origin/OA2 label.