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Black Diamond – ‘Furniture of the Mind Rearranging

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    Posted: 05 Jul 2024 at 4:51am
Black Diamond – Furniture of the Mind Rearranging

(We Jazz Records. Album review by Andrew Taylor-Dawson)

Chicago band Black Diamond serve up and engaging and intimate set that shifts between raw driving power, funky grooves and contemplative calm. From front to back Furniture of the Mind Rearranging is imbued with a potent and captivating minimalist aesthetic.

Built around the twin saxophones and woodwind playing of central members Artie Black and Hunter Diamond, the quartet formation of the band is completed by Matt Ulery on upright bass and Neil Hemphill on drums. The album’s first eleven cuts are played by this formation and comprise the Furniture of the Mind aspect of the album.

Closing things out are a pair of tracks – Mycelium and Motor Neurons, which find Black and Diamond in duo format creating sonic atmospheres with a pair of tenor saxophones. These two improvised pieces shift between moody atmospheres and edgy tension. They also demonstrate the ability of these players to make a huge impact with a limited sonic palette.

The closing section of the album provides a stark contrast to the preceding quartet racks. Earlier in the record, the four players come together with huge impact on punchy opener Carrying the Stick , which sees cycling sax and flute lines weave effectively in and out of off kilter drum patterns and solid bass work. The two distinct sections of the album in quartet and duo formation sit next to each other as contrasting sonic statements. But there is huge range within the eleven track Furniture of the Mind part of the set.

Sure, at times I wished for a little piano to come into the mix – but really, it’s not necessary. Black Diamond demonstrate that in the right hands you can achieve a lot with a stark and minimal range of musical elements. 


Across tracks such as Dovetail, Zoetic and Jayber Crow, Black Diamond thrills and entertains with its heady sound that manages to be at times familiar and also surprising and fresh. It’s a heady brew of influences from free jazz to minimalist classical composition and everything in between, that drives this group of musicians from Chicago’s fertile experimental scene.

A distinct highlight comes in the form of frenetic wig out Catlett – a five-minute cut that closes out the Furniture of the Mind portion of the record. Here we get steady grooves from the rhythm section with will improvisational sax work over the top. It’s an arresting final hit of sound from the quartet before we’re led into the final two tracks leaving Black and Diamond to explore the sonic possibilities of working just with their two tenors.

If you want a record that builds on the history of experimental jazz composition and pushes it in multiple directions at once, you can’t go far wrong. Furniture of the Mind Rearranging is an imaginative, expressive and thoroughly rewarding set.

LINK: Furniture …. on Bandcamp

from https://londonjazznews.com

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