Thursday, March 18, 2010
Scott Fields and Chamber Jazz Interplay, 2010 Style
Some music is just not trying to be in your face. It’s music that has a somewhat refined sensibility, and it is quite serious about what it sets about doing. That would be nylon guitarist Scott Fields’ new record in a nutshell. Fugu (Clean Feed), brings Fields together with a chamber improvisation ensemble of Geoff Brady, percussion, John Padden, acoustic bass, Robert Stright, vibes, and Matt Turner on cello. This somewhat unusual instrumentation and the music it plays reminds slightly of the old Chico Hamilton ensembles that had the cello-bass-guitar-drums-winds configuration, but only because this is music of a cooler temperature, dialogic construction and similar instrumentation. It is chamber improvisation of a tonal sort and it does not feature individual pyrotechnical displays. Beyond all that though this is music of today.
There are compositional elements but the group improvisation concept is at the forefront. It’s not a head-solo-head sort of structure. Melodic and harmonic motives come in and out in the collective mix. And always there is a feeling of spontaneity and an almost classical dialogue. There are freely phrased passages and also regularly pulsating time segments. All the musicians are interesting and contribute to the total effect, which has the feeling of some friends getting together for what turns out to be a most stimulating conversation.
This is music that needs attentive listening. It is unusual and quite intricate. Oh, and Scott Fields plays some very interesting lines. A good listen. . .