Carl Testa – “Sway Prototypes – Volume 1” (SR, 2019)

“Sway Prototypes – Volume 1” is released this year. The album was recorded by great and featured jazz masters – Erica Dicker (violin), Junko Fujiwara (cello), Louis Guarino Jr. (trumpet), Andria Nicodemou (vibraphone), Anne Rhodes (voice) and Carl Testa (bass, electronics). All musicians are experienced and original jazz masters. They already had developped exclusive, passionate and expressive sound, hypnotising playing technique, bright and expressive playing manner and unique way of improvising. The musicians are open to new ideas, inventive decisions and experiments on all cases of musical language. That’s the reason why the music is filled with sound experiments, moving and original solos, passionate and expressive melodies, rare combos, exotic timbres, extended playing techniques and inventive decisions. All music is based on avant-garde jazz. Here modern and dynamic collective improvisation, the newest tendencies of experimental jazz, free improvisational music, the tunes of modern jazz and the intonations of contemporary academical and experimental music. The musicians don’t hesitate to get on crazy and wild culminations, sparkling solos, spontaneous and sudden turns – that makes a pleasure to listen to their music.

The traditions of avant-garde jazz, main basics of improvising, fascinating experiments and original decisions are joined together in “Sway Prototypes – Volume 1”. The music is filled with passion, expression and energy – musicians gently fit together and organically corresponding to each other’s playing. All the compositions have universal and multi-layed musical pattern and rich musical language. It’s made from huge range of sounds, tunes, expressions and themes. Polyphonic pattern is created by individual, passionate and remarkable melodies made by each improviser. Wide and dynamic rhythmic section is filled with typical figures of various jazz styles – aggressive hard bop, expressive, nervous or hysteric bebop, passionate and extravagant post bop, calm and stable cool, mainstream and contemporary jazz rhythms are organically integrated to bright, explosing, wild, thrilling and striking free improvisations. An open form is used everywhere – it makes an effort to passionate, emotional, bright, tremendous and original sound. The musicians don’t stick up to the rules and conventions, but still don’t abandone the main conception of avant-garde jazz. Their music is a great fusion of new, extravagant, home-made and innovative ways of playing, modern expressions, sound experiments, rare combos, exotic timbres, expansion of technical abilities, hypnotising and effective playing manner, unique sound, extended playing techniques and the return to the roots of 1960’s avant-garde jazz. Trumpet’s tunes by Louis Guarino Jr. make a basic to energetic and driving melody line. Growling, urgling and thrilling spills, wah-wah, expressive and remarkable melodies, flying and impressive passages, transcendental ornaments, driving and monotonic sessions, strange timbres and special effects are combined together. The music has effective, expressive, moving and simply impressive sound. Violin tunes by Erica Dicker bring in the academical music’s tunes – it has dramatic, moving and organic sound. Shrieky tunes, exclaming, passionate, light, sometimes even hysteric, nervous or wild sounds, dynamic solos, spontaneous turns, the changes of moods and character in the melody line makes an effort to original and interesting sound. Remarkable melodies, thrilling, vibrant, terrific and frantic culminations who suddenly go down to silent, lyrical, calm, relaxing, light and solemn excerpts, are made with love, pleasure and drive. Cello tunes by Junko Fujiwara are somewhere between free improvisation, experimental music, the newest tendencies of academic avant-garde and basics of experimental jazz. Stable and deep tunes form firm bass line. Monotonic rhythmic sessions create meditative and relaxing mood and are contrasting to vibrant, passionate and thrilling culminations, dizzy, transcendental and impressive passages, strict, aggressive and frantic riffs, breaking sessions and many other elements. Voice elements by Anne Rhodes are used in “Quadrants”. Whispers, hollows, burps, nature sounds imitations, exclamations, spoken elements, recitals, declamations… – all these and other elements make an effective sound and are a great coloristic. Gorgeous background also is created by vibraphone’s tunes. Andria Nicodemou is experimenting on timbral and instrumental section – his music is filled with gorgeous, light and soft tunes of vibraphones, expressive riffs, subtle free improvisations and relaxing mood. It makes colorful and illustrative background and gently fit together with other instruments. Bass tunes by Carl Testa contain deep and stable bass line. Sometimes the music is minimalistic and simple, filled with repetitive samples and classical harmony. When it gets to thrilling bursts of energy, breaking sessions, powerful and effective culminations, expressive and remarkable melodies, driving riffs and impressive free improvisations. The electronics are organically integrated here also – drone, glitch, ambient, sonic system’s experiments, special effects, modified and alterated timbres, computer’s sounds, synth tunes are gently combined together by Carl Testa. All music of this album is bright and original – it has interesting and innovative sound.

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