November 11, 2020
Here Tiz Music HTM003
Welcome Adventure! Vol. 1
577 Records 5837-1
Committed to the standard horn-piano-bass-drums configurations two New York-based multi-instrumentalist create inverse yet equally valid program. Ironically though it’s the 11 selections on saxophonist/flutist Dave Glasser’s disc that are slotted closely to expected 1950-1960s mainstream tropes. The irony arises from his choice of song and album titles, firmly expressing his commitment to social justice and, born in 1962, he’s the younger of the two multi-instrumentalists. Seventeen years Glasser’s senior, Daniel Carter, who plays trumpet, tenor saxophone and flute on Welcome Adventure has been part of exploratory ensembles for almost half a century.
One point of congruence for the two though is that both work with top-flight rhythm sections, Glasser, who has spent many years with the Count Basie orchestra and teaching, features pianist Andy Milne, bassist Ben Allison and drummer Matt Wilson. Meanwhile Carter, who has worked with everyone from Sabir Mateen to Federico Ughi, has long-time associates pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver on board.
Often an amalgamation of Bop and Cool affiliations in his playing, Glaser’ creativity also allows him to come up with unique double-saxophone harmony on “Knit Wit” before the alto sax expositions locks in with drum breaks and piano feints. More crucially, while he expresses a Bluesy feel and sharper bites with his saxophone work, it’s always a little too polite, a tendency that’s exacerbated when he switches to flute as on “It’s A Small World”. It is only prevented from tumbling into perpetual delicacy by Wilson’s bell-like strokes and Allison’s strums. Ballads come across more robustly when Glasser plays saxophone on tracks like “Coffee, Dogs and Telelogs”, especially because here and elsewhere when he’s able to work in brief quotes from other familiar songs. Still he and the band members sound most comfortable on pieces such as “Justice”, where the steeplechase speed allows for reed double tonguing and snarky bites, along with some shoehorned quotes. Additionally, Milne is able to take apart and reconstruct the theme and the stop-time climax propelled by drum plops and paradiddles plus cymbal hisses. While harder interface is introduced into “Freedom”, by the quartet members its interpretation points out the chasm between Hypocrisy Democracy and the other disc. Although Milne playing is more direct and rhythmic as it runs backwards to the theme, neither it, neither Wilson’s emphasized cymbal crashes, nor Glasser’s stentorian honks move the narrative much towards freeform. And yelling “freedom” at the end doesn’t make the tune any freer.
Carter and company don’t have to verbalize “freedom” because exploratory conceptions are built into their DNA. At the same time this doesn’t means that the quartet is deluded into substituting avant-garde excess for genuine feeling. “Majestic Travel Agency” for instance, with Carter playing tenor saxophone includes a Bluesy motif that flows logically as the saxophonist torques the theme from moderato to allegro, while Shipp sweeps across the keys with lively clips and points, emphasizing story telling alongside Parker’s tandem plucks. Carter’s sympathetic flute playing, expressed forcefully on “Ear-regularities”, confirms his distance from Glasser. His gentle puffing may soon become more linear, but it’s only in response to Parker’s alternating throbbing or squealed string scrubs and Cleaver’s rumbles. Turning to trumpet, he manages to invest a Harmon-muted line with brashness as well as beauty so that it evolves in double counterpoint to Shipp’s dynamic pumps and vamps leading to unselfconscious swing. Following a bobbing, double-bass solo, the tempo slows enough to isolate Shipp’s note crowding and Carter’s brassy slurs to a final connection.
Overall the Carter group members appear to have expressed exactly what they set out to do at the same time as they both stretch and confirm the improvised tradition, Glaser’s band also acquits itself well, albeit in a more limited manner since the players appear content to be style interpreters rather than sound explorers. There are places for both concepts, although one wishes the performances on the Glasser disc were looser.
Track Listing: Hypocrisy: 1. Knit Wit 2. Justice 3. It’s Nothing New 4. Dilemonk 5. Coffee, Dogs and Telelogs; 6. It’s A Small World 7. Freedom 8. Glee For Lee 9. Revolver 10. Deep Dark 11. Minor Madness
Personnel: Hypocrisy: Dave Glasser (alto and soprano saxophones and flute); Andy Milne (piano); Ben Allison (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums)
Track Listing: Welcome: 1. Majestic Travel Agency 2. Scintillate 3. Ear-regularities
Personnel: Welcome: Daniel Carter (trumpet, tenor saxophone and flute); Matthew Shipp (piano); William Parker (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums)