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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

CD Review: Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux - Path of Totality.

(Review by Dave Brownlow.)

A double CD featuring the work of a musician whose compositions and playing lie in the spaces between genres and styles, where jazz and classical music ‘meld’ together in the avant-garde. Take as the starting point - say from classical, Stockhausen, John Cage or Philip Glass and from jazz, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor or Derek Bailey and then go forward from there! The Band, “FLUX” comprises two saxes, one keyboard, two drummers/percussionists but no bass or bass guitar. Nine other players are involved among the recordings where they use conventional instruments or the vast array of vintage electro-acoustic instruments provided by Canada's National Music Centre’s extensive keyboard collection to provide constantly surprising musical environments. There are six tracks, all of which require aural stamina as they range from 6, 13, 14, and 19 minutes in length!


Path of Totality was inspired by the 2017 eclipse of the sun. A “way-out” theme leads to solos from the saxophones in contemporary/freestyle backed by outrageous chords from Mitchell and rock- steady interplay from the two drummers.

The 19-minute Bounce, built on the mathematical model of a bouncing ball, features drummer Wood challenging Binney at every phrase; then a calmer phase using ‘radio signals from outer space’. This is followed by an “other-worldly” keyboard interlude which segues into the finale introducing the 1924 Kimball Theatre Organ. This instrument produces a huge, dramatic wall of chordal sound in a beautiful requiem to Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor. Some track this….!

The 19-minute John Cage-inspired Toy-Piano Meditation incorporates Mark Duggan on marimba, vibes, glockenspiel, crotales and Tibetan singing bowls. Out-of-tempo at times, stately rubato at others, floating gently, searching, the C-Melody sax eventually takes it to its conclusion.

Marche Macabre is all doomy discord and bleak humour where the ‘march machine’- a wooden board fitted with a row of clomping clogs- provides the “Brave New World” conflict basis. Weird, outlandish segments of music follow with occasional interjections from brass and reed sections adding to the taste of disquiet and disharmony. The terrible mood is finally broken by a tap-dance from Orlando Hernandez which dissipates the ‘totalitarian’ chaos in a welcome diversion…

On Splatter, David Travis-Smith is let loose with his array of keyboard and electronic devices in a stunning, abstract, erratic, frantic, discordant soundscape – a “Jackson Pollock” of melody and percussion.

Orbital Resonances is “based on the intersecting pathways of orbiting bodies in space”. Strongly rhythmic, with the two drummers well in the foreground, this is a riot of seemingly unconnected melodic statements in a very experimental format.

There are moments of great beauty in this music which goes beyond all the boundaries of conventional forms. Experimental styles are the norm, borders are freely crossed, arts and sciences, astronomy and physics provide the inspirations for these extraordinary, thought-provoking compositions and solos.
Dave B

The album is available now on Whirlwind Recordings WR4733 from: www.quinsin.com

David Binney (alto & C-Melody saxes); Quinsin Nachoff (tenor & soprano saxes); Matt Mitchell (piano, Prophet 6 modular synth, Novachord, harpsichord, Estey pump harmonium,); Kenny Wollesen (drums & Wollesen Percussion #1 #3 #4 #6)) Nate Wood (drums #1 #2 #5 #6)
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Bounce: Jason Barnsley (1924 Kimball Theatre Organ).

Toy Piano Meditation: Mark Duggan (marimba, vibes, glockenspiel, crotales, Tibetan singing bowls).

Marche Macabre: Carl Maraghi (baritone sax & bass clarinet), Dan Urness & Matt Holman (trumpets), Ryan Keberle, Alan Ferber (trombones), Orlando Hernandez (tap-dance),

Splatter: David Travers-Smith (Buchla 200E Analog Modular System, EMS Synthi 100 Analog/Digital Hybrid Synthesizer, Arp Chroma (Rhodes) Analog Synthesizer, Clavioline, Oberhelm SEM Modular Moog).

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