Thursday, January 23, 2014

Adam Lane Trio, Absolute Horizon

Adam Lane has in the last several decades thrived as one of the very brightest stars on acoustic bass, a jazz composer-arranger of unique personality and poise, and a band leader of the highest rank.

A new CD of him in a bare-bones trio setting doing completely improvised music, Absolute Horizon (No Business NBCD 61), gives us a slightly different, but none the less welcome perspective. Here we have three excellent players--Adam, Darius Jones on alto sax and Vijay Anderson on drums--putting aside arranged compositions and going straight at it.

And what you might expect is what you get--a totally free-wheeling ride through the fertile, musically inventive collective imaginations of a trio of master avant jazzmen.

It all clicks. There are seven contrasting pieces with a generous playing time so you can imbibe a good long set of it all.

There is of course lots of Adam Lane's bass playing to dig here, arco or pizz, ensemble and solo. But then Darius and Vijay are primed and there are fully "actionable" sequences to get you off your mental seat and charge straight on through the music. ("Actionable" comes out of me almost involuntarily. It's a word I keep coming across in the many job descriptions I go through online every day in search of a JOB, you'll understand? It means that it invites or impells you to do something, in this case listen and dig.)

Some of this is flat-out, killer energy freedom, some of it is in a finessed, interactively subtle mood, some of it swings like hell, in time. It all swings in a wide sense, in or out of time. It shows you how some of the best can just let go and get a radically varied program of exciting new improvisations that showcase each as individuals yet get all kinds of group sounds and dynamics going. In fact this is something an avant jazz novice should hear if he or she needs to understand the importance of collective invention, of listening and proceeding in a totally free small group setting.

I have a couple more Adam Lane disks coming, so stay tuned. Meanwhile get a hold of this one!

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