Saturday, May 3, 2014

John Escreet Sound, Space and Structure Sunnyside 2014

Sound, Space and Structures is a testament that John Escreet hears his lyrical vision without the self imposed limitations of theory class.
Brent Black /
John Escreet has had his critically acclaimed trio together since 2010 and while their material covers a wide range of styles there seems to have been something missing or maybe someone? Sound, Space and Structures embraces the going trend on live studio improvisation and this date marks the guest appearance of saxophone great Evan Parker. While the harmonic hymnal from which the trio plays is vast including everything from intricately scored numbers to a more open free jazz approach, it is the diversity of experience that has double bassist John Hebert and drummer Tyshawn Sorey with the innate ability to change dynamics, meters and even lyrical focus on a proverbial dime while Escreet and Parker exchange musical pleasantries.
Free jazz or experimental music were first coined by critics to try and offer up a reasonable explanation on music they knew nothing about. If I told you or tried to give you the impression that I had the slightest clue as to what was happening from a theoretical point of view then I would be disingenuous at best. This improvised session is mercifully divided into numbered titles. "Part One" begins with enough percussive fire power to light up a small city and that is from Escreet. A dynamic tension and odd metered explosion of fury give new meaning to thinking outside the box. Harmonic intensity and block chords kicked up to the moon. "Part Three" is a slightly more nuanced piece opening with drummer Sorey's finesse as each plays their own version of lyrical follow the leader. The delicate addition of Parker into the mix on soprano saxophone opens with an understatement of melodic intent but quickly morphs into what one might think was Parker doing unspeakable things to his saxophone in a fit of rage. The manipulation of dynamics and meter with each going in opposite directions is a cerebral mind blower while the more visceral "Part Eight" includes a more tempered John Cage like approach from Escreet in a selection that is oddly if not eerily cinematic in scope.
John Escreet has long been known as an artist that thinks and performs outside the box. I don't think so, I think John Escreet simply expands the parameters of his own harmonic box so that his musical vision continues to have room to move. Certainly one of the better free improvisational works of the year.
Tracks: Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four; Part Five; Part Six; Part Seven; Part Eight; Part Nine.
Personnel: John Escreet: Piano; Evan Parker: Tenor & Soprano Saxophone; John Hebert: Bass; Tyshawn Sorey: Drums.