New music: Jazz round-up – September 2016
Featuring Steve Lehman, Nate Wooley, Hugo Antunes, Jorge Queijo, Mário Costa, Chris Corsano
Steve Lehman: Sélébéyone (Pi Recordings) ●●●●
Composer and saxophonist Steve Lehman is one of the sharpest conceptualists in contemporary jazz. On Sélébéyone he aims to create an uncompromising jazz and hip hop fusion in which all the elements are fully integrated. Rather than have his band recreate hip hop loops in real time and then improvise over them, Lehman has developed complex tracks in which the MCs flow and horn players blow over asymmetric beats and shifting metres. The manic Wolof chatter of Senegalese rapper Gaston Bandimic is a good match for HPrizm's gruff New York philosophising, and both MCs negotiate the metrical hurdles and rhythmic traps Lehman sets for them with remarkable skill. Drummer Damion Reid, renowned for his super-tight interpretations of J Dilla beats, sets off a series of controlled explosions around Lehman and co-composer Maciek Lasserre's intricate drum programming, while keyboardist Carlos Homs creates sonic fictions from spectral harmony.
Nate Wooley, Hugo Antunes, Jorge Queijo, Mário Costa, Chris Corsano: Purple Patio (No Business) ●●●
Chris Corsano can do the job of several drummers at once, so to team him up with two other percussion maestros might seem like overkill. It's testament to the skill and musicality of this US-Portuguese quintet that Purple Patio sounds as open as it does. While Corsano can play with astonishing speed and agility, he's primarily interested in extending the sonic range of the drumkit. As such, he's a brilliant foil for fellow drummers Jorge Queijo and Mário Costa, as well as Nate Wooley, one of the most innovative trumpet practitioners around. The first few minutes are a high-energy stramash, with much polyrhythmic clattering over hissing cymbals, but it soon settles into a more exploratory mood, with Wooley working through a series of ideas (electronically enhanced drones, wonky blues, mouthpiece smooches) while the drummers find numerous ways to resist the gravitational pull of Hugo Antunes's bass.