lundi 20 juillet 2009

Andy Laster : "Hydra"

(Sound Aspects, 1994)

As a saxophonist, Andy Laster has a unique approach, spinning webs of primarily alto saxophonistic sound from the Eric Dolphy/Ornette Coleman/Gary Bartz school — just the right balance of enough tart sweetness and rambling & stark melodicism to make his personalized music quite palatable. Hydra finds him in the company of ever-fresh trumpeter/cornetist Herb Robertson, always in the blue gutbucket bassist Ed Schuller, and razor sharp drummer Tom Rainey. They collectively play these 14 Laster-penned compositions to the hilt from a thematic, spiritual, and utterly original standpoint. Laster, who also plays a little flute or baritone sax, uses a multitude of devices to his best advantage while writing concentrated, complex music that is more valued and heavy with repeated listenings. "Darshon" is perhaps the most highly developed chart, going from free to supercharged bop with hot accents, lower triple pianissimo harmonics from the leader, and intense counterpoint while reviewing and repeating several of these motifs. Mixing Dixieland-type interplay, funky R&B rhythms, and Ornette style approximate harmolodicism in 6/8 on "Hagia Sophia," or conjuring a bluesy, reggae-ish inquisition with melodic statements and drum inserts during "The Four Questions," the band proves they can do it all in short strokes. Robertson also has considerable mettle to showcase throughout the proceedings. His hymnal trumpet on "Cluniac" leads to both modernistic horns joyously bopping, his sputtering comedic repartee for "The Rocket Club" turns to tango incursions, and a mushy, muted cornet on "Parachute" follows mixed staccato and legato lines. There's a scattered, leapfrogging bounce melody with Robertson's creative wailing on "Radbaz"; Rainey's brushed intro to the lugubrious waltz "Eelpout" with soulful, staggered counterpoint and "unison"; and the free (a la Ornette) ballad "Their Last End." Sprinkled in between are alto sax-drum duets "Canto I-IV," varying from a free discourse to more edgy, beat-oriented musings; an overt swinger; a calm-to-heated discussion; and free groove in a mezzo piano dynamic. Hydra not only hits on all four cylinders, but in a high artistic and musical vein that the modern jazz world at large should pay close attention to. Recommended.

Michael G. Nastos (All Music)


1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

Thank you so much for Andy Laster's Twirler and Hydra. Both are excellent albums.
I 'm so grateful.