Free Fall CD review [Wobbly Rail]

Music Reviews
Free Fall CD review [Wobbly Rail]
Dec 20, 2003, 04:02



(Excuse the musicological inaccuracies—jazz is not my area of expertise per se) Free Fall—a trio of Ken Vandermark on clarinets, Ingebright Faten on double bass and Havard Wiik on piano—produces some fine noodling and canoodling on Furnace, a live recording from a concert appearance in Norway, Fall of '02.

Throughout, their work is tonal, smart and hep. Much of it is on the impressionistic side, working within the Third Stream milieu. Thus the listener is treated to jazz-style improvisations on compositional themes derived from post-symphonic music ala Satie, Ives, Varese et al. To the uninitiated (LIKE ME) this plays like a soundtrack to 60's avant-garde cinema (a Stan Brakhage film for instance).

In the course of such pursuits the playing veers from the fairly straight ahead to more willy-nilly, upsadaisy cacophony. The build-up to the latter is, however, logical, narrative and dramatic enough to function as a coherent part of the music's overall motion and rather than arbitrary crashing and clamoring. Moreover these segments are brief enough to contribute a moment of punctuation, transition or climax and then the ensemble moves on without the whole shebang running off the rails—kind of like turning somersaults on a high wire. This is a neat trick though fraught with peril, making successful execution that much more exciting. [Wobbly Rail]

-Howard Wuelfing

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