BARRY ALTSCHUL — The 3dom Factor (review)

BARRY ALTSCHUL — The 3dom Factor album cover Album · 2013 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
snobb
Inventive veteran drummer Barry Altschul is probably best known for his participation in the short-lived, but highly respected, avant-garde jazz all-star quartet, Circle (with pianist Chick Corea, bassist David Holland and sax player Anthony Braxton)(1970). A year later, when Braxton left for a solo career, the rest continued as a trio playing and recording as A.R.C. After some months, Altschul, Braxton and Holland (with sax player Sam Rivers)reunited for Holland's legendary "Conference of The Birds".

It's less known that before this short period of stardom (not in the commercial sense though) Altschul spent five years playing as a member of the Paul Bley Trio. Also, during the mid-70s Altschul played with Braxton as his quartet member, and was also a sideman with Lee Konitz, Art Pepper and others. His extensive solo albums (mostly for Italian Soul Note) stayed generally unnoticed.

In the 2000s Altschul participated in the FAB Trio (with Billy Bang and Joe Fonda) and played on some younger avant-garde jazz artists' albums (bassist Adam Lane, sax player Jon Irabagon, etc). It looked like he would stay a living legend known as an advanced early 70s jazz hero, but the Finnish TUM label changed what looked unchangeable - with their "The 3Dom Factor" album they bring him back to the forefront of modern adventurous jazz.

Forming a muscular sax-bass-drums trio has reunited Altschul with musicians he has already played with in the past; bassist Joe Fonda was a co-member of their FAB Trio (third member Billy Bang passed away a few years ago) and one of the new generation sax leaders, Jon Irabagon, who played with Altschull on his strong "Foxy" album. But "The 3Dom Factor" is first of all an Altschul album - featuring his compositions, already known from earlier albums ("Irina") as well as complex, groovy and always tuneful songs, which connect modern sounds with Altschul's rich past experience. Well-balanced and full of controlled energy, melodic and even melancholic in moments, this music sounds like a bridge between generations, but its free from nostalgia and is really modern.

In combination with the excellent Sam Rivers "Reunion...", an album released a year before (which reunited Sam Rivers and Dave Holland with Barry Altschul), "The 3Dom Factor" is an attractive release, returning Altschul to the forefront of modern jazz.
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