Friday, June 27, 2014

Max Johnson, The Prisoner

Bassist-composer Max Johnson is on the move. The latest album features compositions inspired by the 1968 British TV show that got Max's attention as a youngster and continues to give him inspiration today. The result is the CD The Prisoner (No Business NBCD 66). It's seven movements that comprise a sort of suite, played freely by a well-matched quartet of Max on bass, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor sax, Mat Maneri on viola and Thomas Fujiwara on drums.

This is a moody sort of free-composed jazz that matches the labyrinthian unfolding of the tv series. What that means is that there is space for everybody throughout within the compositional frameworks. Ingrid sounds impressive on tenor, Mat and Max form a two-member string section at times which adds to the sound, and they both solo with smarts. Thomas has an acute set of ears and responds with swing and out feels that help define the music but also show us a drummer who has it!

It's the sort of album you need to listen to a few times to totally grok because it's subtle as well as compelling.

Here is a quartet to hear! I hope they can get together some more because they have a unique chemistry.

Kudos to Max and everybody! This is serious and moving fare.

No comments:

Post a Comment