Friday, July 29, 2011

BANN - As You Like (Indie Europe/Zoom, 2011)

This is a collaborative unit consisting of Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone, Oz Noy on guitar, Jay Anderson on bass and Adam Nussbaum on drums. The combine to make an interesting mix of electric and acoustic sounds, clearly based in post-bop jazz, but incorporating elements of fusion and electronic music as well. Opening with the standard “All the Things You Are,” the performance features up-tempo saxophone with electronic flourishes. Blake’s tenor has a potent force and is accompanied by lengthy, loping bass. Noy is a fascinating guitarist and on this track he is probing and poking into musical corners sharply with nice bass and drums along for the ride. “Played Twice” also begins with strong saxophone, giving way to jagged pointy guitar and deep bass. A cool section of drums and harmonizing saxophone and guitar rounds out the performance. A very exciting short track, “Will Call” has a fast, speedy collective melody with powerful saxophone and sparks of guitar and rock solid bass. The band all comes back together with a fast run through the melody to round out a very well played performance. Drums and nicely funky guitar open “As You Like” into a medium tempo groove. Blake’s saxophone is fast, weaving around the other instruments, then dropping off to make room for a distorted guitar section that shimmers and simmers in a snarling solo backed by ever-shifting drums. The specter of Bill Frisell floats over “At Sundown” with Noy’s guitar sparking and fizzing against a backbeat. The cover of Joe Henderson’s “Isotope” wraps things up nicely beginning with distorted guitar and heavy drumming, then dynamically switching to long tones of saxophone. A long, deep saxophone feature supported by sharp guitar accents is featured before a return to the melody. This was a really well done and enjoyable album. Noy, whom I was previously unfamiliar with, is an excellent and unique guitarist, and Blake as always is rock solid. As You Like -

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