Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ken Thomson Slow/Fast Settle NCM East 2014

Ken Thomson walks an amazing harmonic tightrope between free improvisation and the discipline of the classic for a stellar outing with Settle!
Brent Black /
Settle far more resembles an abstract soundscape as the ensemble embraces what some consider the more "safe" chamber jazz while taking the lyrical road less traveled with some more contemporary rock influences. The improvisational style of presentation leads to a myriad of surprises and melodic invention that is far from the norm of traditional chamber influenced jazz yet never pushes the listener over the edge of the proverbial harmonic cliff. Original, eclectic and cutting edge are the first three words that spring to mind.
A new and far more aggressive approach to their compositions include guitar favorite and band member Nir Felder's "We Are Not All In This Together" which pairs nicely with a more expansive "Spring." The call and response between saxophonist Thomson and trumpet player Russ Johnson slowly evolves into a melodic conversation of intimacy yet with layers of unyielding texture as new color palettes are continuously discovered.
Chamber jazz has morphed into something that more closely resembles new American classical or perhaps a more "artistic" post modern jazz, either way it has never been done this well.
Tracks: Settle; We Are Not All In This Together; Welding For Freedom; Spring; Bend Towards Light; Coda.
Personnel: Ken Thomson: Saxophone, Bass Clarinet; Nir Felder: Guitar; Russ Johnson: Trumpet; Adam Armstrong: Bass; Fred Kennedy: Drums.