Can of Worms explores that happy and unpredictable space where written and improvised worlds collide, diving deep into group improvisations and compositions featuring taut, tense grooves, wailing sax-confessionals and all-out glorious free-jazz. Formed on a whim for a pick-up gig in early 2013, the strong sense of fun, interaction and joyous anarchy quickly convinced saxophonist and composer George Crowley that this was a project which had to happen properly. Some 18 months later the band have recorded their first full-length record of Crowley's original tunes and his second release for Whirlwind Recordings.
The album features a razor-sharp, interactive line-up of some of the most distinctive musicians on the burgeoning London scene. Crowley is joined by a fellow tenor saxophonist and close musical ally in the Loop Collective's Tom Challenger (Brass Mask, Dice Factory), while the rhythm duties are performed by Dan Nicholls (Strobes, Vula Viel), Sam Lasserson (Jeff Williams, Julian Argüelles) and Jon Scott (Kairos Quartet, Mulatu Asktake) with an alluring combination of precision and flexibility, order and chaos.
The resulting music is uncompromising yet warm and playful. Following hot on the heels of Crowley’s quartet debut, Paper Universe (Whirlwind 2012), Can of Worms features seven colorful new originals which gives this impressive band— and its leader— ample room to shine. Crowley’s floating introduction cues up ‘The Opener’, leading to a coruscating group theme which gives way to the first of many purposeful and inventive solos from Dan Nicholls. Elsewhere ‘Ubiquitous Up Tune in 3’ explores more familiar melodic territory with passion and intensity; 'Rum Paunch’ sees the group taking a delicate, fractured blues-like theme into searing improv while ‘Terminal’ has a glorious anthemic quality with searing solos from both tenor players and some hard grooving wurlitzer from Nicholls, underpinned by buoyant support from Lasserson and Scott. All of this takes the listener on a journey where unexpected delights litter the way.
If Crowley’s debut Paper Universe signaled his arrival as a performer and composer, Can of Worms represents a development, a shift in gears which is arresting and entertaining in equal measure.
George Crowley - tenor saxophone
Tom Challenger - tenor saxophone
Dan Nicholls - piano
Sam Lasserson - double bass
Jon Scott - drums
Recorded at Fish Market Studios, London
Mixed by Alex Bonney
Mastered by Peter Beckmann
Produced by George Crowley
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
1. The Opener
3. Ubiquitous Up Tune In 3
4. Rum Paunch
5. I’m Not Here To Reinvent The Wheel