Tuesday, 1 November 2011

the thirteenth assembly @ the vortex 10/30/2011

words + photos: gian paolo galasi

Jessica Pavone and Mary Alvorson
I had a very good impression about Jessica Pavone and Mary Halvorson duo I saw in Italy a couple of years ago in a small theatre, and since I told about Taylor Ho Bynum attendance to last Jason Kao Hwang excellent two albums on london_resonance, I was very curious about this quartet. 

The Thirteenth Assembly debuted on record in 2009 while forged two years before after the collaboration of all the four members to the Anthony Braxton's Sonic Genome project, and I must admit that my lack of confidence with Mr Braxton's last productions is leaving me with a real curiosity for this generation of musicians - add people like Matana Roberts and Steve Lehman, the younger NY improvisors trying to develop their own synthesis and vision after 40 years of avant-garde pursuits.

The result is a music that in some way is influenced by what Braxton's vibrational dynamics, but also Henry Threadgill and Jason Kao Hwang circulating grooves and instrumental richness have left as a legacy to contemporary music in terms of harmonic construction, colors and interplay. Tonight show is particularly dense and fluid at the same time, with Thomas Fujiwara carrying on his shoulders the duty of anchoring the sound to a dense and rich groove while the music develops itself in a characteristic 'loft' style, that means individual statements flowing ahead with the music even before it opens to 'solos', to a contemplative, reflective space. 

Thomas Fujiwara
And while the compositions on the two albums - the 2009 debut '(un)sentimental' and the new 'Station Direct', both on Important Records - show how this generation mediated their mentors vision on composition through the more intuitive sensitivity of the middle one - name Matthew Shipp, Cooper-Moore, Rob Brown to get some anchor point, one wonders if having together four musicians coming from different origins, even if without any stress put on it, can be considered in some way another face of the legacy with an era in which consciousness and creativity were actively supporting each other, waiting for a Matana Roberts performance in order to have a more concrete idea on the subject.

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