(Edgetone)

The world needs more people like Jim Ryan. This incessantly active poet, musician, conscience agitator and visionary sax player is one of those artists who render subdivisions and classifications meaningless, in the name of a single torrential flood of creativity that mixes exuberance, enthusiasm and meditative portions of extraterritorial improvisation, the whole reinforced by a technical knowledge that only many years of playing at the forefront and on the fringes of convention can develop. Ryan has fine-tuned his skill with the likes of Shepp, Ayler and Braxton – enough said. The Oakland disc is probably the most satisfying as far as the recording quality and artistic level of the music go: flanked by Stephen Flinn on drums and Scott R.Looney on piano, Ryan produces the goods during outasight improvisations that move on the borders of recognizability, harmonically evolved in a short-distance biochemical combination that causes reciprocal listening and involuntary communication to produce that extroverted entanglement of anti-singalong lines and incomparable suspended transitions that characterizes only the players at the very hilltop of unadulterated music. The Portland Trio features Ryan with double bassist Robert Jones and drummer Andrew Wilshusen. It’s the (relatively) calmer of the two recordings, a trait d’union between a symbolical – and material – communion of intents and the firing, blazing representation of those instances in which the music dictates the path to the artist and viceversa. Ryan grows his beautifully intricate lines in a favourable timbral environment, but also finds the time to elevate deep thoughts to the memory of his mentors, his music self-regenerating with every change of wind, the three players fused in a single voice, with the leader as the most visible light. There is actually no sense in listening to these albums separately, as they seem to be born together, even in their different complexion. Either way, absolutely great stuff.

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