Album Review: Ochion Jewell’s First Suite for Quartet
Yet again, kind of a stream of consciousness review, like both of my review’s of the Dawn of Midi’s albums. I am simply listening through and writing what I’m hearing.
The album starts off with some dark meets light saxophone and piano duet with great contrasts of sound. It’s a slow build as bass and drums punctuate the space. So far really enjoying how the tune is building up, and reminds me of the bad plus (part of this is the drum sound, and the bass interaction) with saxophone. It is definitely it’s own beast, and going into sonic territories that are now more similar to Giacinto Scelsi’s music, and then Erik Satie. This track is going through a journey, and I can’t wait to see where the album takes me next. This is some beautiful music! I would love to know how this piece is written out, really great use of the different combinations of instrumentation, so that not all quartet members are playing all the time, from the start and finish of the track. There are flourishes of piano, with heavy Pharaoh-esque melodic weight, driving towards a triumphant end to the tune. The rhythm section closes this out with a quiet coda that leads into the next cut.
This is a great sounding band, and really original music. Moments here and there remind of different things, but this is a totally unique sound. Powerful rocking bass, unison lines, deep pocket, jarring but not jarring rhythms. Yeah, starting to hear more saxophone colors and timbres. I don’t know if we’re on the ride, or riding through the fog right now, but we are in some solid terrain of a crazy piano solo. It’s out, but in, there seems to be a constant focus of playing the written music, and playing freely, but the connection between the two is incredibly strong. Now going onto hear the sax stretch a little more without piano accompaniment. It’s amazing how something as simply as that changes the sound so much (and the way the drums/bass react to that change). I wonder if this was recorded as one large unit (the suite) with how seemless the transitions are from track to track.
This is what I’m talking about, free vs. composed, back and forth very quickly, and making a lot of composition sense. The balance that is struck is perfect. Finally hearing some more of the bass coming out of the texture to solo. You can really hear the wood and really hear the full instrument, as there are some chords, open strings, harmonics ringing. This bass player is killing, some of the lines reminiscent of Dave Holland at one step, or Reid Anderson, or Charlie Haden (regardless this guy is unique and a great bassist). The trio is starting to build up around the bass in support, and both piano and drums are comping in their own creative ways. This track has a lot of continuity while going into a lot of different directions through out, sonically very open and coloristic. Accelerating now into maybe a send off soon into the next part of the suite. We’re swinging now, four to the floor, playing the jazz, and keep on speeding up. Here it goes quickening into free sound, while staying quiet and not equally accelerating with crescendo. DRUM SOLO!! I don’t know what kind of kit this guy has, but it sounds like a world of drum sounds. This reminds me a lot of Elvin Jones on a Love Supreme, transitioning from one movement to the next.
Man, what a great record! Please pick this album up; it’s a great sounding conceptual work that really is in the tradition of the jazz suite, while maintaining a new fresh modern sound. Grab this record!! Check him out at myspace, or his website here.