Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Nick Fraser / Tony Malaby / Andrew Downing / Rob Clutton - Is Life Long? (CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2017)

What do Anthony Braxton, Wynton Marsalis, William Parker and Dave Liebman have in common? The fact that they have played with a drummer from the Toronto jazz scene, Nick Fraser, one of those few cases of a musician so flexible that he can practice all the tendencies of this music. Or, when he is the band leader and composer, chooses to cross those different styles, as that combination enables his capacities to swing and to color, to control time and to design textures. Generally, you either shine in one domain or the other, but not Fraser, preferring small gestures instead of technically exhibitionist actions  and always committing to the kind of improvisation that has a sense of natural, moment to moment form. He has found a soul mate in Tony Malaby and if their previous partnerships were already gems of contemporary jazz, the new “Is Life Long?” has all the ingredients to convince you to take this record to your hidden island. One of them is the way Andrew Downing’s cello combines either with Malaby’s saxes, amplifying the melodic effect, or with the double bass of Rob Clutton, for a richer harmony. The others are on the CD for you to find…

1 Quicksand 12:43
2 Disclosure 5:16
3 Empathy 6:15
4 Skeleton 7:35
5 Arachnid 6:25
6 The Predictor 11:07

Nick Fraser  drums
Tony Malaby  saxophones
Andrew Downing  cello
Rob Clutton  bass