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På skive


«Other Life Forms»

The new album of New York-based pianist-composer Gordon Beeferman comes with a very specific advice for young musicians from none other than Carla Bley and Steve Swallow: start stealing from it. But it may be quite difficult to steal much from the eclectic and omnivorous Beeferman, as his works jumps between numerous genres and styles. He has composed and performed innovative porn opera «The Enchanted Organ», played chamber and orchestra music, including Philip Glass’s «Einstein on the Beach», led avant-jazz groups and wrote music for collaborations works with choreographers, writers, and video artists.

«Other Life Forms» is a hybrid free-chamber jazz quartet, working since 2010 and featuring Beeferman on the piano the Hammond organ), viola player Stephanie Griffin, double bass player Pascal Niggenkemper and drummer Andrew Drury, who released the quartet debut album, studio sessions from 2015, on his own label. Griffin, Niggenkemper and Drury are well-versed with many schools of jazz but their sonic horizons are far-reaching and eclectic as the ones of Beeferman and encompass free-improv – with great focus on collective improvisation here, classic and contemporary music. Beeferman is a wise leader and knows how to employ their unique sounds and improvising strategies. He leaves enough room for all to take the lead, often, together as well-balanced unit.

The complex compositions assume sudden, Monk-ish dissonant detours out of the quirky structures, vivid, cinematic tension building and impulsive ironic comments, sometimes even cartoonish ones. Griffin shines throughout this album and her interpretations of the themes and her improvisations charge the music with colorful, imaginative nuances. Niggenkemper and Drury play the conventional role of a rhythmic section only on the swinging «Puddle Jump», but even at times when they just color the pulse both cement the clever melodic, playful structures in strong, driving flow.

If you will follow Bley and Swallow advice you may find that there are plenty of sonic treasures that «Other Life Forms» has accumulated.

Eyal Hareuveni

Gordon Beeferman (p, Hammond, Stephanie Griffin (viola), Pascal Niggenkemper (b), Andrew Drury (dr)

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