Just Like This
Keefe Jackson's Project Project | Just Like This

Delmark DE 580 • www.delmark.com

Chicago-based Keefe Jackson's tenor playing and compositions are explorations in freedom and form, packaged as a 12-man band. The music has a kind of free jazz Ellington quality because of its melody, blues tonalities, varied textures, and free playing. We also hear Jackson's reverence for history in "Dragon Fly" (its spatial qualities sound like early AACM) and "The Grass is Greener" (it features a trilling then a triumphant Aaron Copeland trumpet theme!) On the other hand, "Which Well" sounds like electronic music, though we know it's really blown trombones in those gurgling depths. But when the horns and reeds hit the same note, this ushers in a series of ominous tip-toeing organ chords that originated in Broadway and vaudeville tunes. Those stepping organ chords, you notice, are repeated and intermixed with the solos, so we conclude that Jackson likes some form, along with his melody, rhythm and swing; and he's still a free jazz player. Only in "Dragon Fly" did one of Jackson's structural repeats seem a little questionable, with its abrupt slip into a semi-sweet Ellington sound. Certainly there's several brilliant moments, as in "Titled", a sound picture that has James Falzone's post-Ornette clarinet glinting brightly across the composition's hovering mid-tone greys. There's Jaimie Branch's multitone trumpet smears ("The Grass Is Greener"); and Josh Berman's cornet playing that's off in Bobby Bradford territory with a freely elaborated blues mentality ("Wind-Up Toy"); and there's Jason Stein's jagged speech patterns on bass clarinet that bubble with tonal scoops and bent narrative squeals ("Wind-Up Toy"). Add in the multivocable talents of trombonist Jeb Bishop and the tonal intensities of saxophonist Dave Rempis and you've got quite a mood breaker for the extended stripped down duet that ensued between Dave Rempis' speechifying alto and the all-out log rolling drums of an Ed Blackwell-styled free drummer, Frank Rosaly ("The Grass Is Greener"). Vandermark ... Dave Rempis ... Jeb Bishop. If you like their music, you'll probably like this.

by David Fujino May 2008

The tracks
1. Dragon Fly [11:23] 2. The Grass is Greener [8:52] 3. Titled [10:02]
4. Just Like This [8:49] 5. Which Well [7:51] 6. Wind-Up Toy [8:46]

Recorded February 25 and 26, 2007, Chicago

The musicians
Josh Berman — cornet
Jaimie Branch — trumpet and flugelhorn
Jeb Bishop — trombone
Nick Broste — trombone
Marc Unternahrer — tuba
James Falzone — clarinet
Guillermo Gregorio — alto saxophone and clarinet
Dave Rempis — alto and baritone saxophone
Jason Stein — bass clarinet
Keefe Jackson — tenor saxophone and bass clarinet
Anton Hatwich — bass
Frank Rosaly — drums
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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