(Clean Feed)

The liners define BassDrumBone a “super team” and it’s difficult proving the contrary, as Mark Helias (double bass & bass guitar), Gerry Hemingway (drums) and Ray Anderson (trombone) are three of the finest jazz musicians on the scene, their collaboration dating back from about 30 years ago. “The line up” comprises nine tracks that leave no time to back up from the flurries and combinations that these gentlemen bring to our ears. The most visible voice is naturally Anderson’s, his trombone gauging the need of liberating jazz from the chains of irrelevance through a kind of phrasing that converges towards tonal centres and immediately flies away while remaining totally independent from poor-spirited gestural uselessness, his tone instead both effervescent and placatory. Helias is one of those bassists that play the line like the air would like to hear it, propelling the contrapuntal activities into the realms of field-day improvisation while remaining lyrically conscious at all times. Hemingway is the symbolic incarnation of the war that should be declared against the feeble-minded swingers who cause the idiots’ heads in the clubs to cluelessly bounce up and down with their glass in hand; his playing is spectacular at times, fractured at the right moments, always able to shift the balance of the trio within the space of half a beat. An electrifying effort that captures at the first listening.


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