Rick Countryman used to be a Microsoft executive in the USA but now spends his time in the Philippines living there and performing in jazz clubs in and around Quezon City. And going off this latest recording of his, Acceptance – Resistance, it’s good that he did quit his day job, because he can handle his night job just fine.
The alto sax specialist is joined Simon Tan (bass) and all the way from Switzerland, Christian Bucher (drums) for their recent release from Paris-based Improvising Beings, a set of extemporaneous performances laid down ‘live’ in a studio in the Philippines. You could rightly call this music ‘free jazz’ and some people might shy away from that term because that implies chaos, but with Bucher, Tan and Countryman there’s plenty of melodicism and logical development involved instead.
The threesome set the wheels in motion with “Wheels In Motion” by the way of Countryman spinning off a musical narrative from his horn, and Tan lets it soak in for a minute before diving in to construct his harmonic counterpoint to it. Meantime, Bucher’s unique approach to the drum kit takes shape, one that leans on the snare and toms for the rumble and the cymbals to add shape to his percussion. “Acceptance” has a solid blues underpinning mainly thanks to Tan and Bucher’s restive drums keeps this eleven-minute plus performance from stagnating.
“Power Out” is where the throttled is fully opened up: Bucher gushes energy even with brushes, Tan’s tightly drawn bass lines sketches out the song’s parameters and Countryman flies high but nonetheless is putting forth a melodic progression with no wanton notes. Countryman goes from soulful to contorted and back on “Cosmik Funkshun” and Tan gets lyrical on his aside, implying a rhythm that Bucher has managed to decode.
Purchase Acceptance – Resistance here.
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