Time: November 8, 2009 at 10pm to November 9, 2009 at 1am
Location: The Alchemist Lounge
Street: 435 South Huntington Avenue
City/Town: Jamaica Plain
Website or Map: http://www.myspace.com/alchem…
Event Type: jazz, series
Organized By: Lyndon
Latest Activity: Nov 8, 2009
The Fully Celebrated Orchestra is a mouthful for a quartet, but alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs unfolds big sounds with his two-horn front line backed by bass and drums. While the model hearkens to early Ornette, the writing is original, quirky, and compellingly modern.
For instance, the opener, “Lord of Creatures,” begins with a mournful sax, quickly joined by trumpet (sometimes in unison, sometimes tuned a shade differently, creating occasional dissonance) and drums, while the bass repeats the same note, adding static rhythm. The following number, “Throne of Osiris,” mocks a Jazz dirge, heavy with the legato, while “The Mackie Burnette” begins with a hard-edged Ayleresque theme honked by Hobbs at an accelerated pace, followed by some Hobbesian rattling, a bit of collective improvising by the horns, and call-and response variations.
In contrast, “Three Rivers” starts with Timo Shanko’s gentle and largely conventional-sounding bass performing a cappella, followed by the horns in unison over the bass and drums, interspersed with solos from Taylor Ho Bynum. The horns are clearly the dominant soloists, with Bynum performing brilliantly, as the setting is ideal for his elastic sound. He has the opportunity to stretch, as his solos are filled with pinched tones and colors that reverberate with a pronounced emotional thrust, restrained by volume.
Hobbs is a solid sender, strong and powerful on alto, an intense wailer, but it is his superb writing that distinguishes the set, his vision that mixes tempos, time signatures, harmonies, and timbre: an exciting voice. His “Ol’ Lady Who?” is a tune with staying power, its eerie melody and tight voicing a sure winner.
Timo Shanko and Django Carranza are less distinguished as soloists, but each provides strong support for the horns, Shanko in particular a good listener and a hardworking, valued team player. Carranza’s job is not easy, as the rhythms change on a dime—though his soloing does not rise to the level of the horns. Overall, this is an album to savor, the often thrilling compositions and arrangements and the compelling horn solos separating it from the pack.