The Octopod – “Monoliths and Sepulchres” (2018)

“Monoliths and Sepulchres” is another one the newest avant-garde jazz album which was released on January 10, 2018. Album was recorded by “The Octopod” – it’s the first debut full album by this ensemble. “The Octopod” members are Garrett Wingfield (compositions, saxophones), Aaron Dutton (saxophones), Emilio Mesa (saxophones), Luke Wingfield (trumpet), Conner Eisenmenger (trombone), Gregory Santa Croce (piano), Aaron Holthus (bass) and John Sturino (drums). The improvisations of this ensemble have innovative, active, passionate and expressive sound. Various special effects, brave and innovative musical experiments, interesting and fascinating orchestration decisions, spontaneous improvising and other elements are the main basic of these improvisations. Musicians are experienced and outstanding avant-garde jazz improvisers – the aim of their improvising is to create interesting, innovative and outstanding avant-garde jazz improvisations.

The compositions were written by Garrett Wingfield and have interesting structure and musical language. Extremely expressive, active, dynamic and vibrant solos, spontaneous improvisations, sudden stylistic waves, changes of moods and characters – all these elements create bright and solid sound of these improvisations. Improvisations are based on contrasts and independent instrument sections. Five horns section which is 3 saxophones, trumpet and trombone, are full of many different styles and musical expressions combined in one place. Wild fast and turbulent solos, very loud and powerful blow outs, unusual sounds, wide range of different musical expressions and innovative playing techniques, memorable melodies and sharp harmony. All these elements bring intensive and effective sound of brass and woodwinds improvisations. The section’s function in the improvisations changes lots of times – sometimes reeds keep a solid, vibrant and strong rhythmical background, sometimes turns into extremely sharp, aggressive and turbulent collective improvisations. It’s very hard to predict what is going to happen next – inventive, unpredictable and masterful improvising is always somewhere between absolutely different music styles and their elements. Gregory Santa Croc piano melodies are full of extravagant musical decisions and expressive sound. Sharp and dissonance harmony, wide range of different musical expressions and playing techniques, spontaneous and marvelous twisting between extremely loud, speedy and furious solos to soft and static improvisations – all these elements make an effort to whole album sound. Piano melodies masterfully fit together with extremely bright and solid horns section and subtle bass melodies. Bassist Aaron Holthus improvisations have subtle and passionate sound – he extracts many different feelings, senses, moods and characters in his improvisations. By using many different traditional and innovative ways of playing, bassist manages to try out brave musical experiments, extract unusual sounds and create expressive sound of his improvisations. The drums section is leaded by drummer John Sturino – it has different functions in these improvisations. In some part of the compositions, drummer keep solid, bright and dynamic rhythmical basic of the improvisations. But in the collective improvisations drums are absolutely different from other instruments improvisations – it very frequently bursts into very loud, extremely speedy and furious solos, vibrant tremolos illustrated with unusual percussion sounds and timbres. All kinds of different rhythmic episodes, independent melodies, different styles and playing manners, masterful and outstanding improvising by all musicians bring vivacious, original and vital sound to these compositions.


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