Paul Flaherty/Randall Colbourne-BRIDGE OUT! CD (Family Vineyard)
I gotta admit that ever since I laid paws upon INTERSTELLAR SPACE a few decades back I've (naturally!) been extremely interested in the spate of sax/drums duo albums that have been rushing out of the jazz avant garde faster than you can say Frank Lowe. True they may be "sparse" or "minimalist", but each and every one of 'em I've laid ears upon strips the beautiful free jazz bore (as in boring holes, not boring listeners) to the bared-wire intensity of it all. And this recent outing from the longtime New England-based duo of Paul Flaherty and Randall Colbourne is just that, a fine isolation of the core free spazz sound and vision into its purest form and if that reads like pompous bull you're right!, but sometimes I do get all frothy emotional about such things so bear with me for once.
Flaherty and Colbourne are two guys who naturally won't be burning up any DOWN BEAT polls any time soon (is DOWN BEAT still being published?), but considering some of the dopus dilectis that have been getting all of the jazz accolades these past four decades maybe their lack of inclusion would be an honor. Whaddeva, the duo sure do put out a fine wail on this disque that reminds me of what I'll bet some of the more outre jazz picks that the old NEW MUSIC DISTRIBUTION SERVICE used to offer sounded like, making me wish I had the spare change to buy that stuff then 'stedda dishing out ten times as much for battered copies now when I do have the moolah!
Flaherty's playing is typical of the seventies post-Coltrane style when things began stretching out even more...post-Ayler would be a better way to put it with a tone and approach that might recall a less-adventurous Roscoe Mitchell but somehow a less r&b Luther Thomas sticks in my mind. Colbourne's drumming is clearly in the post-Sunny Murray free style and perhaps even some more...for some not so strange reason I keep thinking late-seventies loft-era splatter back when the only place you'd find any information about all of those avant co-op groups that were hanging around En Why See was THE VILLAGE VOICE even if you hadda fight your way through Nat Hentoff acting all First Amendment sanctimonious (though he's still an OK guy even if everyone hates him!) and lesbian film festival info to find any mentions thereof!
So whazza verdict? Well, especially in this day and age when we drift further and further from the 20th Century glory of it all such things as avant garde jazz seem all the more tastier! And so do these guys who, although playing outside of time and perhaps general interest, seem to be one of the few that I know of playing fire music this late in the game. Give 'em credit for that. And as you all know I've been way outta touch with even a shard of what's going on in the avant/free jazz world ever since CBGB (and their Sunday jazz series at their next-door lounge) closed up along with a good portion of the cybercasts they were offering, but at least BRIDGE OUT helps keep me in touch with some of the high energy that continues to creep out of the underground jazz community long after I thought it would have been STOMPED OUT for sure.
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