Jeff Albert’s Instigation Quartet | The Tree On The Mound | RogueArt Jazz

rogueart jazz

Jeff Albert: trombone | Kidd Jordan: tenor saxophone | Joshua Abrams: double bass | Hamid Drake: drums

Recorded by Wesley Fontenot (assistant Nick Guttmann) on November 21st 2011 at Piety Street Studios, New Orleans, LA, USA. Mixing and mastering: Jeff Albert at Flora Sound. Liner notes: Alexandre Pierrepont. Photograph: Zack Smith. Cover design: Max Schoendorff. Cover realisation: David Bourguignon, URDLA. Producers: Jeff Albert & Benjamin Lyons. Executive producer: Michel Dorbon

Special thanks to Jeff Zielinski and Nobu Ozaki, your help was instrumental.

Track list: 1. Three on Two (8:42) 2. Instigation Quartet #3 (5:12) 3. Instigation Quartet #1 (5:50) 4. Instigation Quartet #2 (6:31) 5. The Tree on the Mound (4:56) 6. Instigation Quartet #6 (12:13) 7. The Strut (9:07)

Jeff Albert's Instigation Quartet | The Tree On The Mound | rogueart jazz

The art of throwing spinning-tops

It’s on. It’s overflowing with energy.The music tosses the spinning-top of reality, since playing is spinning around what is, where hides what is not, what once was, and what one day will be. To play is to drill. And to improvise is to recover and develop “the faculty and the ability to ceaselessly birth sensations.” (Novalis) To improvise is to make the world flow, or to let oneself go as it flows. Sounds visit us and their levels rise within us like the waters of a flooding river – closeness of the Nile and the Mississippi. (Edward “Kidd” Jordan is the instigator of River Niger, a composition sometimes played by this quartet, which is at Jeff Albert’s instigation). When he is playing, Jeff Albert, proud heir of the tailgaters, has all the dykes and seawalls at his disposition. When he is playing, “Kidd” Jordan accumulates cataracts and deltas. There are at least two types of accumulation: the methodical accumulation of the merchant economy, the one which compiles and compacts, which amasses objects, signs, bits and pieces, which amasses time-frames also, in order to confirm them in their conformity and isolation. There is the poetic accumulation: it is spasmodic, disparate, thought-provoking -while it gathers, it squanders; while is uses, it rejuvenates. Lucid silt.

Albert, Jordan, Abrams and Drake are torrential partners. After an experiment led with the saxophone player Tobias Delius during the Fall of 2010 in Dortmund, and a “Kidd” Jordan eye-opening concert during the Summer of 2011 in New Orleans, Jeff Albert chose to record these very instigations with this very quartet, where he met again with the Bindu instigator, Hamid Drake, and the upright bassist of its third incarnation, Joshua Abrams. Because since Dortmund, the trombone player has made it a habit to experiment on this particular strategy consisting of improvising, indeed, but also of giving a minimum of verbal indications to the improvisers, so they cut across country, and “right away” dive into one of the hearts of the subject matter, in order to approach faster the unknown that awaits them. However, this marking out does not restrain any possible exit, since nothing is written and each player remains free to interpret in his own way these few instructions, which only act as opening guides. Once the space is open, the spinning-tops thrown in, the improvisation follows its natural course and all excesses are allowed. The third instigation asks for staggered starts. The drummer must subtly become a noise-maker, the bassist a pointillist, the saxophone player must achieve a position in regards to and contrast with the bass player, the trombone player must take care of a few melodic fragments. Then, come hell or high water. The first instigation asks for an almost simultaneous start, from the drummer with a repetitive rhythmical motif, from the trombone player with new melodic fragments, from the saxophone player with a stretched-out melodic motif, from the bass player with a counterpoint. Then, come hell or high water. The second instigation asks the saxophone player to start by himself, with long tonalities. It asks the bass player to join him with a bass line. It asks the trombone player and the drummer to jump in, one with a rather angular approach, the other in respect to and contrast with the bass player. Then, come hell or high water. The sixth instigation asks for the alternation of two duos, the saxophone player and the bassist first, then the trombone player and the drummer. Then and there again, come hell or high water.

Come hell or high water: we must perceive this expression, and formula, as the affirmation of a power that we chose to let act as it wills, for itself and for us, under certain conditions, and which will turn into the power to act, of ourselves with others. The concept of instigation calls forth that of initiative, incitement, and even provocation, all for the improvisation, for the manifestation of a power which never ceases to allow possibilities. Of course, the ecstatic musicians’ assaults would be akin those of the unrelenting elements. And each time they unfurl and break against the wall of time, like “crest-cries of the blazing dawn” (Octavio Paz), like spinning-tops of reality, it is a bit like pieces of its pebbledash crumbling onto our ears. Promethean deafness: the culture of feats and the idea of redemption hang over our minds. We never surpass more than a few records, or a few taciturn techniques. The improvising man has much better things to do. When “Kidd” Jordan improvises, instigated by Jeff Albert, he abandons fortresses and windmills, he vanquishes no opposing force. Simply, nothing needs to fight against him. He doesn’t pant and struggle against a hostile environment or a blind fate; he is neither winner nor competitor – he plays, he finds the strength to play amidst all that is around him, angels, demons, and men, and plays with everything that he has, because that is the only way to awaken these beings who in return keep the world in an awakened state. Only playing is prosperous, only playing is irresistible. What some are afraid of with this “creative” music is not its bluntness or virulence, it is that it plays with everything, it brings other energies into all subjects and all objects through sounds and essence.

Jeff Albert, “Kidd” Jordan, Joshua Abrams and Hamid Drake play profusely, for the enjoyment it brings to play and obtain a sound which grows within the sound, that sound which blossoms within the other and kindles it, shares with it its founding vertigo. This sound covered in writings which runs in the veins of the hardest rocks. This sound rolling into the abyss, swinging from the sky’s suspension track. This sound like a torch as if the sun overflowed. They suggest clarity coming alive wildly as cherished ones walk by, and wealth to be redistributed.

As an opening and an ending, they play Fred Anderson’s Three on Two and The Strut. For a long time, Anderson was for Jordan his trustworthy saxophone player, the one with whom this receivable energy overflowed, the one with whom he could spin wildly. Fred Anderson, “this brutal brother whose wording however was certain, patient in the face of sacrifice, diamond and boar, ingenious and helping, stood amidst all the misunderstandings akin a sap-full tree in the unapproachable cold.” (Rene” Char). Like The Tree on the Mound.

Suddenly, there are no more disasters, all promises are kept. Near the quartet’s fountain, the lands are neither arid, nor submerged. The musicians have dug irrigation canals into society and the universe, overflowing with their energy. — Alexandre Pierrepont (Translation: Romain Tesler)


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