Stephen Haynes / Damon Smith / Matt Crane / Jeff Platz – “Theory of Colors” (Balance Point Acoustics, 2019)

Stephen Haynes (cornet), Damon Smith (double bass), Matt Crane (drums, percussion) and Jeff Platz (guitar) – a featured quartet had recorded “Theory of Colors”. Alive, sparkling, dynamic and expressive – that’s how we could call the music of this quartet. All four musicians are the central figures of international avant-garde jazz scene. They had already developped their own, specific and suggestive way of playing through the long years of their musical career. Emotional, bright, contrasting and original playing style makes an inspiring, driving and simply impressive sound. Musicians are open to new and innovative ideas – the music is always filled with joy and passion to improvise, drive, the will to research, extract and explore, as well as to demonstrate their own and modern conception of avant-garde jazz.

“Theory of Colors” is based on the main elements of avant-garde and experimental jazz. The improvisers are the masters of this art – their improvisations usually become an organic fusion of different timbres, millions of colors, sounds, tunes and expressions. Splendid virtuosity, extended playing techniques, sonoristic experiments and extraction of peculiar timbres form an independent and exclusive instrumental section. That’s the source of new, exciting and vital sound. There are also other compounds which are very important to musical pattern. Remarkable and passionate melody line, dynamic and wide rhythmic section, ornamental background and sharp dramatic harmonic basement. Double bass, cornet, guitar, drums and percussion are joined together – musicians are exploring new technical abilities, extracting strange and original timbres and creating their own, modern, radical, provocative or simply impressive ways of playing. A wide stylistic variety is created – innovative ideas and traditions go along together just fine. Musicians integrate the innovations of experimental jazz, traditional ways of improvising, go back to the roots of 1960’s avant-garde jazz and manage to brought together all these elements. The sudden stylistic turns are made frequently – the music gets similar to bebop, post bop, hard bop or any other modern jazz styles, related to contemporary academical and experimental music or minimalistic samples. Eclectic and colorful variety of styles makes a surprising and original sound. Cornet is the key of the melody line. It’s gently corresponding to guitar – these two instruments give the main tune to the melody line. Explosing riffs, radical decisions, vibrant terrific solos, passionate expressive melodies, flowing passages, growling, splashing and simply impressive excerpts, strange tunes and special effects – these elements are used the most frequently in cornet’s improvisations. Stephen Haynes is fusing together inventive ideas, original decisions, passionate melodies, sparkling culminations and extended playing techniques. His nervous, hysteric and expressive cornet is brought together with guitar. Its dynamic, organic and original solos are made by Jeff Platz. The music is contrasting and bright – soft, gentle and elegant pieces are suddenly changed by tremendous culminations, dramatic vibrant solos, vivid melodies, flowing passages and gorgeosu ornaments. That makes an effort to surprising and driving sound. Deep stable bass line which suddenly grows out to sparkling risings, trembling emotional trills, dramatic culminations or remarkable melodes – Damon Smith finds the best way how to combine together huge range of contrasting elements and create a touching inspiring sound at the same time. Gorgeous percussion gently brought together with dynamic rhythms, hysteric riffs, expressive driving sessions, aggressive bebop or hard bop, steady hard beats, repetitive series, hypnotysing perturbations and booming breaking culminations – drummer Matt Crane forms a great, independent and surprising rhythmic section by using wide range of rhythms, sounds and tunes. The music of this album has a touching, expressive and dynamic sound.


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