Joel Futterman

New Orleans Rising

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Here are three cuts by pianist/saxophonist Joel Futterman and saxophonist Kidd Jordan with the most misleading title for album ever -- despite the fact that Futterman resides in the Big Easy. With electric bassist Elton Heron and drummer Alvin Fielder, these four cats fill an entire album with speculative, free-blowing jazz improvisational pieces destined to contradict everything the listener has assumed or learned about the musical heritage of that famed, nearly mythical place. That said, as free jazz blowing it works to a limited degree; there are a few amazing piano rides by Futterman into the very heart of dystopian harmonic invention and some skronked-out howling by Kidd Jordan that will raise the hair on the back of your neck. But it's the rhythm section and how they cope, how they keep it all on the ground, that is most memorable. Heron manages to keep his bass playing in the pocket somehow, funky and out, while the shimmering snare drum dances of Fielder are nothing less than astonishing for their sheets-of-sound approach that manages not a feigned or interjectory rhythmic pulse, but one based in the bases of rhythmic invention itself. These elements, as wonderful as they are, however, cannot save this recording from the utterly devoid-of-emotion self indulgence of its leaders.

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