Jan 21 2015
Returning with the same cast that offered up the excellent 2013 release Percussive Mechanics, Anna Webber offers up with Refraction a similar method of coalescing a disassembled collection of moving parts into a form of synchronized chaos where melodic fragments thrive and prosper. Though each of the album’s seven songs possess a shape and form that is perpetually in a state of flux, Webber’s ensemble directs the action in a way that guarantees a strangely melodic tunefulness will shine right on through.
“Five (Action)” is a brooding tune with a heavy step, but the lumbering tempo is belied by the darting motion of the wind instruments. The mix of motions is where this ensemble excels.
Atop a strong current of rolling tempos, “Tacos Wyoming” is all about the melodic shapeshifting. Though shape and form change from moment to moment, the melody’s presence is felt always.
“Climbing On Mirrors” builds from an amicable chatter to an intense wail, whereas “Theodore” shifts between expressions of varying dissonance, as if the tempo were run through a hyperactive blender.
It’s interesting how the ensemble is able to develop a rather beguiling motion on “The All Pro 3 Speed,” even though, for all intents and purposes, it’s a tune meant to kick up all kinds of turbulence. There’s an interlude when it adopts a distant peace, and, of course, it enters, eventually, into a strong melodic passage, but this is one of the songs where the dissonance rules the day.
The album ends with the roiling tempo of “Friction – Vif (Reflection),” a tune that builds from a drone up to a roar before blossoming into a pulsing cadence and a melodic theme that enjoys the cyclical pattern of chasing its own tail in increasingly snugger confines.
There should be a law that this ensemble has to record something new every year. First Percussive Mechanics and, now, Refraction illustrate just how creatively rewarding such a legal action would be.
Your album personnel: Anna Webber (flute, alto flute, tenor sax), James Wylie (clarinet, alto sax), Julius Heise (vibraphone, marimba), Elias Stemeseder (piano), Igor Spallati (bass), Max Andrzejewski (drums, marimba) and Martin Kruemmling (drums).
Released on Pirouet Records.
Jazz from the Brooklyn scene.
As mentioned above, Webber’s 2013 release, Percussive Mechanics, was one of the best things to come out that year. It received the #8 slot on the Bird is the Worm Best of 2013 list. And I gotta tell ya, I still think it’s something special. You can read my original recommendation, here –> (LINK).