If by chance you were wondering what an advanced, contemporary, improvised, virtuosic music performance might sound like, a decade or more into the future, this album provides a definite possibility. Multi-award winning ex-Melbourne pianist Marc Hannaford, currently studying for a PhD at Columbia University New York, has assembled two US musicians – tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, and drummer Tom Rainey – with his long-term Australian associate, trumpeter Scott Tinkler, to record six extended improvised exchanges.
Anything that might be said about a particular track to illustrate the overall approach on this album – funded by the Freedman Fellowship and The Music Council of Australia – is likely to be contradicted on another track. For example the sixteen minute opener Murmur uses Rainey’s drum kit throughout but not in the usual rhythmic style; a slow tempo is inferred, not stated, in a completely unfettered way, whereas Spechsinder begins with elements of rhythmic post-bop and features a lift-off trumpet and drums passage that pulses quickly, swinging madly before piano and tenor arrive with their own spacey contributions as tempo becomes irrelevant and piano and drums swerve and speed, then slow and speed again to an abrupt conclusion.
Framed starts with a comprehensive tenor cadenza and added percussion punctuation leading into a fast running, piano sequence with big, stabbing atonal chords.
This is a collection of powerful and exploratory playing, highly original and improvised freely and energetically. It’s music that could perhaps be imagined if Albert Ayler sat in on a session of free expression with John Cage and Cecil Taylor.