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John Escreet - Sound, Space and Structures (2014)

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John Escreet - Sound, Space and Structures (2014)

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01. Part I
02. Part II
03. Part III
04. Part IV
05. Part V
06. Part VI
07. Part VII
08. Part VIII
09. Part IX
10. Part X
11. Part XI

John Escreet  -  piano
Evan Parker - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
John Hebert - bass
Tyshawn Sorey – drums


Though this isn't Evan Parker's album - which is obvious from the title - his work on it adds a thoroughly new dimension to the already excellent trio of pianist John Escreet, drummer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist John Hebert.

The opening bars of Part I, finds Escreet delivering a rousing and percussive introduction that is wonderfully bolstered by the rhythm section, kicking things off as an excellent trio recording. However, when the Parker arrives partway through ‘Part II', the musical landscape changes. Minimalist and abstract, the tight tonal clusters begin to stretch out, leaving just points and constellations for Parker’s to navigate with his piercing sax . Escreet and Parker play off of each other, finding complimentary sounds and textures both inside and outside the traditional ranges of their respective instruments. John Hebert’s bass and Tyshawn Sorey’s percussion provide a nuanced level of support and interplay that spotlights Parker’s inventiveness. Part VI and Part VII are nicely contrasting pieces, the former being introspective and melancholic, and the latter a ferocious romp with strident rhythms and ebullient sax work. Over the course of the eight and a half minutes, each musician comes to the front, the track is in a constant state of re-construction. Parker, a master of space as much as all the other techniques, drops on and out when, I assume, he feels the moment is most appropriate.

Highlighting Parker's contribution is to call out but one aspect of this excellent recording, the musicians are intertwined, interdependent and all highly individual, creating an indelible impression with their improvised prowess. Teeming with spontaneity and life, Sound, Space and Structures is worth a listen by anyone interested in a improvisation masterclass. --- Paul Acquaro, freejazzblog.org


U.K.-born pianist and composer John Escreet has always demonstrated a knack for the adventurous: When he arrived on the New York City jazz scene in 2006, his formidable improvisations resembled those of Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer-searching and explorative yet melodic. This time, though, Escreet heads full-throttle toward the outer reaches of modern free jazz, trading in melodicism for choreographed mayhem. As this disc’s title suggests, sound and spatial awareness reign supreme as he and his longstanding triomates-bassist John Hébert and drummer Tyshawn Sorey-are joined by legendary multireedist Evan Parker. Together they offer a nine-part song cycle, each section brimming with tonal wizardry and textural imagination.

Given the cryptic tone of the collective improvisations and the streamlined track titles-“Part I” through “Part IX”-it’s best to think of the album as a single performance. But on “Part VII,” the most accessible of the nine, Sorey drives the quartet with brisk, swinging momentum as Escreet enters, detouring into Ellingtonia before hammering dissonant chords and fragmented passages. Parker’s spiraling tenor saxophone lines and Hébert’s skulking basslines afford the track a heady sound that evokes the best of Blue Note’s experimental mid-’60s LPs. Still, Escreet and his cohorts refuse to settle into any noticeable groove too long, each musician relishing every cacophonous moment. ---John Murph, jazztimes.com

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