Robert Burke|Tony Malaby|Mark Helias – “Head Under Water” (FMR, 2018)

“Head Under Water” is the newest release of “FMR Records”. The album was recorded by Robert Burke (tenor and soprano saxopones), Tony Malaby (tenor and soprano saxophone) and Mark Helias (acoustic bass). These three musicians have interesting and original playing style – it has expressive and passionate playing manner, unique sound and rich musical language. All three jazz masters are famous in avant-garde jazz scene for many years now – they also had been playing and improvising with many other famous and great improvisers. Their music usually is based on spontaneous and vivacious musical decisions – each of them likes to experiment in all fields of musical language, especially in sound and instrumentation section. They don’t hesitate to change the usual forms of improvising, fuse together contrasting musical language elements and make inventive and eclectic combinations of instruments, styles, sounds and manners. Their music always has expressive, bright and passionate sound.

“Head Under Water” has expressive and dynamic sound. Free imrpovisations are the main elements of whole album – it makes an effort to whole musical pattern, style, rhythms and other musical language’s elements. The musicians are exploring all layers of musical language – they expand the technical abilities of their instruments, use specific and innovative instrumentation forms and decisions. That helps them to create original and bright sound of their improvisations. Open form, free imrpovisation, turbulent and harsh solos, synthesis between various jazz styles and contemporary academical music – all these elements are the main basics of this album. Saxophones melodies by Tony Malaby and Robert Burke gently fit together despite of huge contrast between the improvising styles of these jazz masters. Their music is filled with expressive, touching and glamorous melodies, passionate and spontaneous solos, turbulent, shining, sparkling and bright blow outs, remarkable riffs and marvelous passages. Both musicians are fusing together contemporary academical music elements with e=their own and experimental ways of playing. That makes an effort to huge variety of gorgeous and colorful timbres. Even though, both musicians form their music on the basics of avant-garde jazz, free improvisations and sound experiments, their music also has many relations with bebop, post bop, hard bop, cool and other contemporary and modern jazz styles. That especially hears in melodic and rhythmic section – especially expressive, rapid and dynamic solos with sharp harmony, constantly changing rhythmic and sudden stylistic waves are very frequently heard in their improvisations and fused with free improvisation. The music also has some tunes and mild relations with contemporary academical music and academic avant-garde – that shows the instrumentation section, which is totally based on natural, colorful and inventive synthesis betyween experimental ways of playing, own playing techniques and modern playing techniques of contemporary academical music. Music also is very moody and dynamic – from the silent, soft,gentle and warm episodes improvisers jump into harsh, aggressive, rapid ,expressive and turbulent collective improvisations or effective duos. Mark Helias acoustic bass melodies have deep, dark and solid sound. Bass line is solid and independent – static and monotonous tunes are fused together with dynamic and rapid rhythmic formulas. That creates a strong, original and interesting rhythmic section and bass line. The rhythms are connected with melodies – it has bright, passionate, virtuosic and vivacious sound. Mark Helias playing style is very dynamic and expressive – he masterfully fuses together traditions of various modern and avant-garde jazz styles, harmonies, chords,scales and other elements of musical language. His music always have vibrant, effective, original and dynamic sound. All three improvisers show their best in this album – they create glamorous, remarkable and innovative sound.

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