ESTHESIS QUARTET — Times Zones (review)

ESTHESIS QUARTET — Times Zones album cover Album · 2023 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Chances are you probably have not heard of Esthesis Quartet yet, and that’s a shame, this is one of those new up and coming bands that should be getting much more recognition. These four women play a modern form of post bop with forays into fusion and free jazz, all framed within unique arrangements. Esthesis is unusual for a high energy jazz band in that they are led by a flute player, Elsa Nilsson, who manages to give the flute much more aggressive presence then we are used to hearing, and her ‘sheets of sound’ attack may remind some more of a tenor sax player than the typical flautist. The band is filled out with pianist Dawn Clement, who takes an almost opposite approach from Elsa with her Monk/Mehldau style of careful note selection and off kilter phrasing, but she too can take flight at times as well. Tina Raymond is a powerhouse on the drums as she sports today’s approach to swinging all over the entire kit as opposed to just the ride cymbal. Emma Dayhuff is a solid anchor on bass, almost sounding rock like in places with her strong presence.

Their new album, “Time Zones”, makes reference to the fact that these four musicians all live in different time zones within the US. Album opener, “Blue Light” is one of the album’s strongest cuts as it opens with Craig Taborn style pointillism before going into a full fusion onslaught with rock like energy. Follow up track, “Brush Fire”, is similar, but a little more subdued. “Hollywood” is a slinky hard bop groove that shows their ability to experiment when Emma starts pushing the beat faster and then brings things back to the original tempo. “Getting Through” is the other bop number and shows the band in fast tempo high flight. “Serial” is the avant-garde number that is based on a pod cast of the same name that tells the true story of a young man who allegedly murders his girlfriend. The song opens with classic noire detective show riffs in the style of “Peter Gunn”. On the gentler side of things, “First Light”, is a flute based instrumental ballad, and “The New Yorker” is sung by Clement with words that detail a relationship that has to deal with a sudden change that has one person moving to Paris while one must stay in New York.
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