Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
Most of the musicians brought in original material for the new record, which packs in 14 tracks, and that might explain the easygoing stylistic range that makes room for charged post-bop, knotty free improvisation, translucent west-coast polyphony, Mingus-like blues thrust, and some post-Trane spirituality, often in shifting combinations. You can hear such hybrid styles below by listening to Dammann's "Red Green and Blue," a lengthy excursion that wends from raucous free blowing to chamber-like intimacy to loose swing with dissonant harmony and beyond—the changing character is further defined by the individual sound of each soloist. The group also tackles "Wandering," a tune by the great Fred Anderson—who gave the group playing opportunities early on at his Velvet Lounge—and they open the album with a nifty adaptation of a traditional Shona mbira theme from Zimbabwe, which features deft prepared piano by guest musician Mabel Kwan that sort of translates the sound of the traditional thumb piano for the track.
According to the press materials it took almost three years for the album to be written and recorded—which makes some sense considering that many of the players are involved with loads of disparate projects—but I would hope that 3.5.7 Ensemble exerts a greater presence on the scene. The record isn't flawless—there are moments that drag, with a reliance on midtempo swing and walking bass lines—yet there's a real surfeit of ideas at work, with some lovely arrangements distinguishing many of the tunes. If the group managed to play out more those shortcomings would seem easy enough to wipe away.
Buddy Collette Quintet, Buddy's Best (Dooto/Boplicity)
Abelardo Carbonó, El Maravilloso Mundo de Abelardo Carbonó (VampiSoul)
Charles Bell and the Contemporary Jazz Quartet, Another Dimension (Atlantic, Japan)
Le Super Biton National de Ségou, Anthology (Kindred Spirits)
Hilary Hahn and Valentina Lisitsa, Charles Ives: Four Sonatas (Deutsche Grammophone)