Friday, April 18, 2014

Keefe Jackson’s Likely So - A Round Goal

Keefe Jackson’s Likely So is a seven person all-reed group led by the Chicago saxophonist and bass clarinetist. The international group includes fellow Chicagoans Mars Williams on alto, soprano and sopranino saxophones and Dave Rempis on alto and baritone saxophonists; Waclaw Zimpel from Poland on clarinet and alto clarinet; and Swiss players Marc Stucki on tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and harmonium; Peter A. Schmid on baritone, bass and sopranino saxophones, bass clarinet and e-flat clarinet and Thomas K.J. Mejer on contrabass and sopranino saxophones.

The seven piece ensemble performed at Jazzwerkstatt Festival in Berne, Switzerland on February 20, 2013 and Delmark has issued a recording from that evening A Round Goal. As Larry Kart notes in the liner notes, Jackson used the opportunity to explore his compositional voice in an all-read ensemble. he provides the structure for the players to improvise and interact with each other in this meeting of some participants of todays jazz avant grade.

The performances include passages of collective improvisation as well tranquil solo interludes and the structures Jackson has established allows for the fascinating and thoughtful interplay between the seven players along with the development of musical colors. Jackson, on the first of two bridge solos heard here displays warmth and a concern for tone and timbre, whereas Stucki on Wat Ist Kultur?, exhibits a focus on the upper reaches of the tenor (in a 60s Pharaoh Sanders manner) with the ensemble establishing a foundation for his explorations. Mejer’s contrabass sax sounds like a bowed bass solo on My Time Is My Own, before the ensemble cradles the coda of this and leading into Pastorale where Mejer helps establish the foundation for this intriguing performance with a rhythmic motif. Williams alto evokes bagpipes opening the title track as he plays over the ensembles repeated riff before he launches into the higher reaches with some fiery, Ayler-esque improvisation before Rempis barrels in on baritone with slurs and screeches in his torrid solo.

This is imply a snippet of some of the music to be heard on A Round Go. Keefe Jackson’s Likely So was quite lively that evening resulting in the music here that rewards listeners with music to stimulate and fascinate them.

I received my review copy from Delmark. Here is a short video clip.

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