(Clean Feed)

The association of John Carlson (trumpet, pocket trumpet, flugelhorn) Eric Hipp (tenor sax) Shawn McGloin (bass) George Schuller (drums, percussion) and special guest Douglas Yates (clarinets) yields some considerable results in “Nut Club”, a record which tackles several aspects of free jazz – does this definition still carry some sense anyway? – without disguising the players’ main influences (admittedly, Sun Ra on top of them: they execute “The satellites are spinning” in stunning fashion) all the while channeling the whole in a complex intersection of both cerebral and physical efforts. Free Range Rat also play a great version of James Blood Ulmer’s “Non believer” and a very intense rendering of Bob Marley’s “So much trouble in the world”, where the group’s extremely conscious energy transforms the music in a sort of invocation for a peace that will never exist. The always splendid, truly Clean Feed-style vividness of the recording does full justice to these musicians, whose exciting enthusiasm and well detailed mastery is captured in all of their gestural nuances. Strikingly muscular yet delicate as a rose petal in more than an instance, the sound of this album is similar to a concentrated conversation among strong personalities: everybody is persuaded about the strength of their own affirmations but this does not prevent the others from expressing a valuable opinion that, in turn, is analyzed and dissected.

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