Daniel Thompson/Alex Ward – “Up Toward The Floor” (Copepod Records, 2019)

“Up Toward The Floor” is recorded by a duo of featured jazz masters – it’s Daniel Thompson (acoustic guitar) and Alex Ward (electric guitar). Both musicians are very well-known on international avant-garde jazz scene – they’re the central figures of Amercian avant-garde jazz scene. The collaborations and projects with other jazz masters, interesting projects and releases are their main activities. The musicians had already created their own sound – it’s based on huge stylistic variety and modern conception. The improvisers don’t stick up to the rules, but are exploring new fields and have a will to create original and evocative sound. All their music is completely based on free collective improvisation, avant-garde jazz and its traditions, basics and innovations gently brought together. The music is mostly based on dynamic and contrasting mood – strong contrasts, unexpected surprises, gorgeous tunes, stunning experiments and sudden changes of moods and characters are used here frequently.

“Up Toward The Floor” compositions are played in dynamic and active mood. Expressive melodies, terrific riffs, dramatic culminations and frantic solos are the main elements of it. Both guitarists are exploring new ways of playing and strange timbres. The compositions are based on avant-garde jazz. Its basics are gently combined together with other styles and genres – expressive complicated bebop, aggressive hard bop, contemporary jazz,relaxing cool, some tunes of contemporary academical and experimental music, as well as heavy hard and monotonic riffs related to rock and avant-rock styles. The musical language is expressive and vital – it’s based on wide range of rhythms, sounds, timbres and scales. An open form is used everywhere – that makes an opportunity to free abstract improvisation which is gorgeously illustrated by strange timbres, spontaneous solos, immediate responds to each other’s playing, contrasting pieces, expression of huge range of moods and other elements. The musicians manage to find the best way of improvising – that’s how they’re fusing together absolutely different and contrasting pieces, sounds and themes. Huge range of moods is made – sometimes the music is childish, naive and playful, solemn, slow and relaxing, or frantic, furious and hysteric. The acoustics and electronics are joined together – musicians combine together electric and acoustic guitar. They’re expanding the zone of traditional sound, exploring new, shocking, radical and provocative ways of playing and integrating special effects to its background. That makes an incredible, suggestive and innovative instrumental section. A great synthesis of innovative, home-made, extended, modern, classical and original ways of playing, special effects, sonoristic experiments, textures and ornaments is the center of it. An independent and bright melody line is created – expressive melodies, trendy riffs, moving thrills, hot spills, wild turbulences, frantic perturbations, synthesized tunes, electronics, ambient and minimalistic samples are the main elements of it. Acoustic and electric guitars go along together just fine – the duos are the most remarkable, beautiful and driving episodes of whole album. The variety of rhythms also is wide – nervous bebop, frantic hard bop, monotonous rock, solemn and soft rhythms which grow out to impressive free rhythmical improvisations contain the main base of it. Musicians are improvising with drive and pleasure – they’re corresponding to each other’s playing and make dozens of surprises. Immediate responses, unexpected turns, sonoristic experiments, silmunateously changed moods are frequently used and highly effect whole musical pattern. The music has a remarkable, inspiring and expressive sound.

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