Label: Clean Feed, 2017
Lineup - Kjetil Moster: tenor saxophone; Jeff Parker: guitar; Joshua Abrams: bass; John Herndon: drums.
As an adventurer who explores with no concrete boundaries, Norwegian tenorist Kjetil Moster couldn’t have found a more suitable foundation for his sounds than the streamlined rhythm team composed of Jeff Parker and John Herndon, Tortoise’s guitarist and drummer, respectively, and bassist Joshua Abrams, founder of Natural Information Society, whom we could hear recently in projects such as Rempis/Abrams/Ra trio and Jason Stein Quartet.
After gigging together for some time, the musicians decided to hit the studio, and Ran Do is a positive payoff that dignifies their talent.
“Orko” resonates affirmatively with the impromptu drumming of Harndon. The rest of the members join him, one after another, starting with the bandleader, who pours out chant-like phrases, and then the bassist, who integrates his throbbing flippancy with the disentangled yet often disconcerting guitar sounds of Parker. The musical scenario feels simultaneously volatile and strapping as the improvisations occur.
“Dig Me Out” takes a darker and more intriguing sonic path. On top of that, it is noisy and polyrhythmic. The deeply cavernous blows freed by Moster are strongly imprinted on a surface that also exhibits long and distorted guitar lunges and a multitude of percussive elements. These are intensified in order to uphold bowed bass euphoria, quirky guitar vagaries, as well as the hissing and growling of the saxophonist. Even climaxing in an approachable rhythmic cadence nurtured by bass and drums, it all becomes very ghostly.
The absorbing “Annicca”, the longest piece on the record at more than 15 minutes, serves up African ritualistic pulses, raucous saxophone expressions peppered with vibrato effect and dark timbre, wha-wha guitar dipped in modern funk, and incessant marching bass lines. After Abrams’ monologue, the tune changes skin like a chameleon, presenting a more melodious sax operating with a sweeter timbre on top of permeable guitar chords.
The last tune is funnily entitled “Pajama Jazz” and puts us in orbit with an ostentatious groove reclined in glory. Dripping until coagulate, the piece thrives with the magnificence of Moster’s ramblings filled with revolutionary, spiritual, and charismatic freedom. While accompanying, Parker sounds more surrounding than incendiary, but shows he can also be a wirepuller, delivering a spectacular solo and showing off his matchless sound.
These self-determined orchestrators, provided with instinctive stimulus and scintillating inspiration, are valid voices on today’s vanguard jazz scene.
01 – Orko ► 04 – Annica ► 05 – Pajama Jazz