Label: Astral Spirits
Saxophone jazz deviant Sam Weinberg joins with refugees from thrash jazz agent Little Women — Andrew Smiley, guitar; Jason Nazary, drums — to form a new trio, Bloor. It’s wild, acerbic and even a bit mathematical... Similar to the electric guitar-based free jazz units like Many Arms and Matta Gawa. Their new album Drolleries comprise of ten performances that are concise and never overlong. In contrast to another Weinberg project, W-2, there’s at least a sense of premeditated composition (seven of these tracks were composed by Weinberg), but all of them relies heavily on the group dynamic.
Bast gallops right out of the gate, running through a succession of mini-themes, before the strict discipline breaks down and everyone depends on instinct, which is kind of the point. But then they dust themselves off and cycle through the motifs and madness again. Mollycoddled begins with a group of patterns that are rapidly repeated, a leaping off point into the ether of free association. The second half slows down and stretches out as Nazary modulates intensity. Weinberg blows out impossibly contorted notes to kick off The Croy Hours and the other two tentatively spar with him, culminating together with a trill as a prelude to a vigorously repeated pattern.
Bloor’s Defacer conjures up Ornette Coleman's Prime Time, even if it’s missing a bassist and second guitarist. Nazary is the guy to hone in on during Liber Scivias, his staggered rhythm path tracing the one left behind by Smiley. A motif is heard throughout all of Splice (for Arthur Blythe) but that doesn’t keep the trio from playing without any constraints put on them.
Drolleries, a feature for Smiley alone is an oasis of tenderness in this sea of musical savagery but even here eccentricity and a touch of tension exists. Other, shorter solo performances by each of the band members are scattered throughout the record. - S. Victor Aaron
Cat. number: AS084