Friday, August 7, 2015

Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt

Double bassist, composer and bandleader Bret Higgins comes our way with the debut of his band Bret Higgins' Atlas Revolt (Tzadik 7813). It's a cohesively wild and rather wooly quintet of Bret Higgins, double bass, Aleksander Gajic, violin, Robbie Grunwald, acoustic and electric piano, Tom Juhas, electric guitar, Joshua Van Tassel, drums and percussion.

This is music that belongs smartly on the Tzadik label for its movie-soundtrack-like synthesis of Euro-Semitic advancement, with a hint of secret-agent-meets-Baltic and some advanced rock-jazz overtones.

Tom Juhas does excellent guitar work that gives a nod to surf roots and throwback avantness with some minor-mode flourishes and cosmic psychedelic electricity. Aleksander Gajic has a very vibrant violin tone and combines euro-eastern feelings with a contemporary, sometimes cosmic feel. Higgins anchors it all thoroughly on his bass, very much out-front, and the rest of the band plays an important and effective part in it all.

The compositional frameworks are all-important in ways I am sure John Zorn appreciates. They cover much ground and each band member contributes bite, color and drive to make for a program that grabs your ears and never lets go.

This one is very fun while being quite serious about what it sets out to accomplish. It succeeds very well and gives you some music that holds your attention well. Check it out!

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