Daniel Rosenboom – Book Of Storms (2016)

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(feature photo: Eron Rauch)

Book Of Storms is part of a recent string of recorded live performances by the visionary trumpeter, composer and bandleader Daniel Rosenboom. Recorded at L.A.’s Blue Whale club, Rosenboom again presents advanced conception and improv in equally large doses in front of a live crowd, as we witnessed last year when another Blue Whale date called Astral Transference and Seven Dreams dropped. There aren’t a lot of songs on Book Of Storms — just two — but enough musical ideas to fill up the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

This one is actually his follow-up to Book of Omens (2013), featuring the same crew and exploring in the same terrain. A narrative or theme guides Rosenboom’s suite of songs and this pair of eighteen-minute performances are named “Dance for Fujin” and “Dance for Raijin” because, in his words, they “imagine(s) episodic ritual dances for the Shinto demon-gods of wind and thunder, Fujin and Raijin.”

Rosenboom and his ‘Book’ band (with Vinny Golia, bass clarinet and gongs; Jake Vossler, electric guitar; Tim Lefebvre, electric bass and sonic effects and Matt Mayhall, drums) do bring the wind and thunder, and all the uneasy periods of calm in-between.

As Rosenboom’s aching horn gains assertiveness at the beginning of “Dance for Fujin,” the quintet settles into a rock groove, rising to the first of many climatic points, around where the baton is passed off to Golia on bass clarinet. Things get grittier as Golia wails with Rosenboom joining in and they telepathically reach a note together as the density behind them dissipates. That leaves the trumpeter back to where he started, emitting sounds into near silence. Freedom and dissonance overtake the proceedings as a snarling bass clarinet solo rises up with Mayhall’s drums managing to keep up. The two horn players feed off each other as Golia contorts his clarinet into something resembling a manzello as Lefebvre’s electronic fx roils underneath until the crashing end.

The ‘thunder’ in “Dance for Raijin” comes mainly in the form of Vossler’s death metallic riffs, which commence after an inscrutable start. Before the song concludes with doom metal bombast, Rosenboom’s soaring trumpet leads the troupe through a transition to another vamp, where Golia conducts a nervy solo. Vossler and Lefebvre take their own intriguing turn with one-to-one interplay with everyone else laying out around the twelve-minute mark. Somewhere further along the line Lefebvre presents a new slippery figure, another cue for the band to restart and Rosenboom and Golia vigorously competing for attention.

It’s not a Miles Davis concert circa 1975, but it’s hard the escape the feeling of such an event. Book Of Storms does nothing but strengthen Daniel Rosenboom’s reputation as a conceptual improviser of the highest order. Whenever you see his name near the words “Book of,” prepare yourself for a hell of a ride.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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