Tue, May 28, 2013 - Page 12 News List

CD reviews

TROUBLE WILL FIND ME, by The National; BIRTHING DAYS, by Mike Pride; DRUMMER’S CORPSE, by Mike Pride; HUSH POINT, by Hush Point.

NY Times News Service

Drummer’s Corpse consists of two long pieces, each a troubled meditation. The title track — three minutes of anticipatory rustle on gongs and cymbals, followed by half an hour of percussive hailstorm — feels like Pride’s precise definition of catharsis. At times he literally wails, with wordless fervor, against the heavy churn of six of his fellow drummers, including Bobby Previte, Tyshawn Sorey and Ches Smith.

The other track is Some Will Die Animals, dedicated to the memory of the Japanese noise drummer Gen Makino. At once calmer and more chilling, it involves Pride on minimal percussion, Eivind Opsvik on acoustic bass and Chris Welcome on guitar. Its most striking feature is a contrapuntal poem, recited by Pride and three other vocalists, intended to evoke a kind of deadpan Dadaist horror.

There’s less alienation on Birthing Days and a more approachable brand of craft. The album features From Bacteria to Boys, Pride’s postbop band with Jon Irabagon on saxophones, Alexis Marcelo on piano and keyboards and Peter Bitenc on bass. Jonathan Moritz, another saxophonist, and Jason Stein, a bass clarinetist, take guest turns on two tracks apiece.

For all his confrontational bluster, Pride is a heart-on-sleeve type, as shown here by Lullaby for Charlie, a lyrical waltz dedicated to his son, and Motiaon, a blurry folk elegy for the drummer Paul Motian. These are the simplest and most satisfying gestures on an album that occasionally swims in clutter: its title track is an 11-minute jazz-rock opus bathed in the glow of retro-futurism by Marcelo’s synthesizers.

Some of the terser material — like Marcel’s Hat, an angular new-music miniature, and Occupied Man, which races out of a free-form haze — indicates that Pride has been plotting this album for a while. And as with the thematic conceit, it gives the impression of a story just beginning to unfold.

— NATE CHINEN, NY times news service


Hush Point


Hush Point hasn’t been around long — a little less than a year, about a dozen gigs. But it’s got its identity down. It’s a New York quartet that effectively draws a connecting line through some of the best small-group jazz from one of the best five-year periods in jazz: 1955 to 1959.

What music are we talking about, why is it worth referring to and who is behind its re-investigation? Roughly, what Chet Baker did around 1955 (especially the gnarled and brilliant music he made with the pianist Dick Twardzik); the great contrapuntal improvising that Lee Konitz played with various small groups around 1955 and 1956; Ornette Coleman’s joyous postbop folk song of 1959; and the transparent, elegant Jimmy Giuffre groups of 1955 and 1957. Hush Point has no stated agenda — there are very few words on the cover of its self-titled album — but it seems to want to suggest that the Chet Baker thing often called cool jazz and the Ornette Coleman thing often called free-bop were cut from the same tree, which, of course, they were. (The tree is Charlie Parker.) More or less, this band is going back to the beginnings of the split between structured and free jazz, and binding up the wound.

Hush Point’s elder member is in his mid-60s: the trumpeter John McNeil, who plays careful, imaginative, highly learned improvisations at low projection. (His back history includes periods with Gerry Mulligan, Horace Silver and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra; he’s been working for a while on the larger project of folding music of this type and era into current playing practices.) The other horn player is the alto saxophonist Jeremy Udden, in his mid-30s, who makes his own quietly argumentative, tradition-mixing records, like last year’s folk art; two other younger Brooklyn players, Aryeh Kobrinsky and Vinnie Sperrazza, play bass and drums.

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