Half Notes: Bruce Eisenbeil Sextet – Inner Constellation, Volume 1 (2007)

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S. Victor Aaron

Evidently, the word “constellation” in your CD title means you’re gonna stretch people’s ears. But while Roseman does it with trippy reggae-jazz, Eisenbeil gets it done with good old fashioned free (read: whack) jazz. Eisenbell is clearly influenced by that godfather of free form guitar, Derek Bailey, but avoids the clone label by actually scoring his music ahead of time and having the players “create” the music itself as it unfolds during the recording of it. A former member of Cecil Taylor’s band, he adapted Taylor’s late ’70’s sextet concept using his guitar as the leading instrument instead of piano. The violin, trumpet, bass, alto sax and drums all take turns to improvise after a new theme in the extended composition is announced. The main composition itself is arbitrarily divided up into 27 tracks, presumably at points where the listening can quickly get to critical points of the song. Three, softer “wind-down” tunes finish out the set. This band is probably doing a lot more than what I’m able to pick up with my own ears, but it is fresh, spontaneous and purposeful. Well, at least as purposeful as free jazz gets.

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