Sunday, September 4, 2016

Brandon Evans/Rent Romus/Alex Cohen/Philip Everett-Live KFJC 89.7 FM; digital download 2016

Brandon Evans's recent swing through the San Francisco Bay Area seems to have been a success. An appearance at Outsound New Music Summit with a workshop and a show, a large ensemble recording at Gold Lion Arts in Sacramento, and this set at the venerable Wave of the West, KFJC in Los Altos Hills.
Featuring what sound like four or five separate improvised micro-pieces, strung together into one long suite entitled improvisation, Live KFJC 89.7 FM has all kinds of sounds and interactions to be enjoyed by the Improvised Music fan.
Leader Evans gets great high pitched squeals and squalls from his alto and sopranino saxophones, while Rent Romus adds to the winds mix with his own signature riffs. Particularly compelling are Rent's post-Ayler lamentations and double horn harmonizing. The two sound great together; they were close musical mates within the early 1990's SF Jazz scene, and it's clear that their simpatico remains, and joyfully so.
Guitarist Alex Cohen's clean tones display a great sense of Jazz comping; his guitar often seems to take on a solidly supportive, almost bass-like rhythmic role within the quartet,  and when he solos he sprays great clusters of notes all over top of the horn harmonies. 
Multi-instrumentalist Philip Everett adds some of his surreal clarinet bleats and really great minimal kit percussive action. His popping rolls on a snare drum serve to move the music, and they are spiced with bursting interjections on small cymbals and bells; Disaster Amnesiac finds his approach instructive and very cool. Philip can do a lot with a little!
The overall feel of Live KFJC, obviously on account of these fours' great listening and playing skills, is tight and focused, with what strikes me as a great blending of Jazz, Improvised, and New Music influences. Any fan of these streams would do well to click on over to Brandon Evans's ever-expanding bandcamp page and dig in to this one.
Lastly, how 'bout that excellent cover imagery? Mysteriously cool!

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