Outsound: The Axiom

August 25, 2013 at 9:41 am Leave a comment

Louis Jordan.   Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Louis Jordan. Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

More about July’s Outsound New Music Summit, this time from the jazz-and-compositions concert that was titled, “The Axiom” …

I wrote about the concluding act, Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack, here (now with pictures). The rest of the evening was solid as well — and Bruckmann’s wasn’t the only impressive long-form, world-premiere piece. Lewis Jordan got a great reception for his jazz suite, “Only Children.”

The suite felt large, musically tracing the path from childhood to old age, and featuring a poem of Jordan’s about the adults that children become. It began with a springtime feel, content and innocent. Later motifs included a fun Mediterranean-sunset air that became the backdrop for one of India Cooke’s best violin solos.

Overall, the piece carried on in rich jazz tradition, with engaging solos and, in some places, group work over forceful, swinging bass riffs. I liked the way John-Carlos Perea held the music together during those passages.

Louis Jordan's Music at Large:  India Cooke, Jordan, JImmy Biala, John-Carlos Perea, Karl Evangelista.  Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Louis Jordan’s Music at Large: India Cooke, Jordan, JImmy Biala, John-Carlos Perea, Karl Evangelista. Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Toward the end, the group settled on a gentle, almost weary riff that sounded like a concluding statement. It seemed to repeat one time too many … just lingering … and then, it burst into a jaunty blues, not too fast but saucy and lively. It definitely put a smile on your face. They jammed with that for a few minutes before letting Karl Evangelista erupt into an all-out guitar freakout.

I like to think this part of the suite was meant to show a bursting of happiness and activity late in one’s life, as opposed to the resignation of being used up. In that light, “Only Children” left a feeling of joy and hope in the air.

Rent Romus. Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Rent Romus. Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Rent Romus’ Lords of Outland played a strong set mixing free jazz with heavy, sky-high psych. It included a few new pieces from a sci-fi-influenced suite about “Dr. K.” and also at least one from the Lords’ considerable catalog. The quartet lineup was enhanced by two players from Columbus, Ohio: Hasan Abdur-Razzaq (sax) and L.A. Jenkins (guitar).

Abdur-Razzaq — part of the Rejuvenation Trio album that I reviewed a couple of years ago, added a deep sense of the jazz tradition, while Jenkins’ guitar colored the mix with psych reverb. Both were good complements to the Lords of Outland sound — Jenkins fitting the music’s dark sci-fi overtures and Abdur-Razzaq helping tether it to jazz. C.J. Borosque delivered some crisp trumpet solos, and of course, we got a few minutes of Romus playing two saxes at once.

Overall, a great show. Bruckmann’s “…Awaits Silent Tristero’s Empire” has now been studio-recorded for eventual release, and one can only home Jordan’s “Only Children” can similarly live on.

LA Jenkins.   Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

LA Jenkins. Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Karl Evangelista.  Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Karl Evangelista. Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Entry filed under: Bay Area music, shows (past). Tags: , .

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