Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Tesseract: "Impossible Images"

On February 29th (of this year), Tesseract, a "modern jazz quintet" based out of Toronto, released their debut album, "Impossible Images". Released independently, the album features Edwin Sheard on the alto sax, Leland Whitty on the tenor sax, Patrick O'Reilly on the guitar and electronics, Julian Anderson-Bowes on the bass, and Derek Gray on the drums. So what makes this album so special...Well lets first talk about the record's style before we get into the nitty grits...Tesseract is a "modern jazz quintet", with an emphasis on the modern. That is to say, Tesseract, as described, moves jazz forward. Well, that is exactly what we hear on the album. "Impossible Images" is characterized by diverse compositions, which touch upon elements of bebop, fusion, latin, and world music...the sub-genre list goes on and on. However, this diversity isn't just seen from song to song, but rather, within the songs themselves. Intrigued yet?? Well lets start getting into the nitty grits. The first song we're going to discuss is "Venezuelan Independence Day". The song is introduced by O'Reilly, who has no trouble showing off his McLaughlin-Esc  (Jon McLaughlin that is) chops. As the introduction peaks, the ensemble joins in, causing a sense of repose (as ethnomusicologist Donald J. Fune would put it) on the listener. The song begins to slow down as Sheard begins his solo...slowly building the song back up to another climax. The piece ends with a drum solo by Gray, followed by a final addition from O'reilly. The next song to be noted is "Enut Wen", which begins with a conversation between the alto and tenor saxophones. Following the exchange of words (notes), both sax's get a chance for their voices to be heard with their improvisations, respectively. As the song concludes, the listener not only hears, but feels the end of the conversation, that has by now swept you away. Rather than ruining it...we'll let you listen to see who got the last word in! All in all, the album was a fantastic debut for Tesseract. Already heard on the international level, we can't help but be excited to see what's next for this "modern jazz quintet" and their journey in moving jazz forward. 

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