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The OGJB Quartet

Ode To O

Label: TUM Records

Format: CD

Genre: Jazz

In stock


Ode To O is the second release by the OGJB Quartet that features four leaders in their own right, saxophonist Oliver Lake, cornetist Graham Haynes, bassist Joe Fonda and drummer Barry Altschul. As with their first release, Bamako, each member has contributed compositions to the new recording which also features two collective improvisations.

The album combines tracks based on gutbucket rhythms with others full of exploratory abstractions. The album title, Ode To O, refers to Ornette Coleman and the title track, written by Altschul, has he and Fonda laying down an assured and gritty rhythm bed for Lake and Haynes to dance through as they tip their caps to the classic interplay of Ornette and Don Cherry. Altschul also contributes "Da Bang," a tribute to violinist Billy Bang that begins with artful cymbal and drum patterns, before Fonda tears into a fast, throbbing rhythm and the horns warily sway through unison passages and their solos. Oliver Lake's two relatively short pieces also display the band's more combustible impulses. The rhythm section swirls up a storm on "Justice" underneath Lake's and Haynes' long, unified lines while on the brief "Bass Bottom," the horns cheerily harmonize long tones over Fonda's loping beat. A new element in the mix on this album is Graham Haynes' use of electronics which show up on his composition, "The Other Side." This starts with the horns moaning low notes over a mixture of boiling percussion and bowed bass. The music builds into a menacing mass that comes off like a variation on Richard Strauss' "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" before eventually getting swarmed by electronic distortion. Electronics are also a presence on two group improvisations, fizzing and warping the cornet sounds among everyone else's brief hiccups and smears on "OGJB #3" and noisily weaving in and out of the individual sax, bass and drum fragments that make up "OGJB #4." All four musicians are integral parts of this group but Joe Fonda may be the keystone of the entire enterprise. His thick pizzicato runs energize the quartet when it locks into a groove and his keening bow work ties the more abstract passages together well. This is best exemplified on his own composition, "Me Without Bela." This piece starts in random fashion with Fonda's arco singing giving a centering focus to Lake's and Haynes' short, sharp bursts. Then the bassist kicks into a deep plucked Latin groove alongside Altschul and propels the band with a dangerous swagger as Lake and Haynes push and sing in unison with a sense of restrained menace.
- Jerome Wilson, Allaboutjazz.com

Cat. number: TUM CD 058
Year: 2022

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