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Jim Black – AlaSNoAXiS

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    A nice, sprightly walking bassline

    In-the-pocket jazz drumming (you know: “ching, ching-a ching….”)

    Play the head, play some solos, play the head

You won’t find any of that stuff on Jim Black’s Alasnoaxis. What you will find is Hilmar Jensson on electric guitar, Chris Speed on tenor sax and clarinet and Skuli Sverisson on electric bass…all supported, pushed and prodded by the (barely) controlled chaos of Jim Black on drums.

Describing music like this is tough because the tunes can go from pensive near-ballads to full-on skronk. Take “Ambacharm”. It begins with all three melodic instruments stating a slow theme in unison with the drums setting (almost implying) the pulse. The instensity builds very slowly… in a Lounge Lizards kind of way. Then comes “Garden Frequency”, which is constructed around a single guitar chord: feeding back and then being restruck. After a couple of iterations Black’s almost tribal drums kick in and so does the rest of the “tune”. Next up is “Poet Staggered” with Chris Speed’s squeeky intro giving way to the fury of the full band, again with Black’s clattering percussion.

Kind Of Blue this is not.

Check Alaxnoaxis out if you’re tired of major label jazz “product” and are looking for something that makes you think.

The perfect gift for the Kenny G lover in your life.

(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)

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