John Lindberg / John Lindberg's Tripolar

Tripolar (A)Live at Roulette, NYC

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In February 2010, bassist John Lindberg's Tripolar was recorded live at the Roulette Club on West Broadway in New York City, and the album which resulted was released on the Jazzwerkstatt label the following year. The trio's drummer was Kevin Norton who, like Lindberg, has worked extensively with both Anthony Braxton and James Emery. The third member of Tripolar is saxophonist Don Davis of the Doctor Nerve band, a seasoned improviser whose early appearances on record included milestone collaborations with Michael Mantler and Carla Bley; Karl Berger, Phillip Johnston, and the Microscopic Septet. On the longest track, "One for Ayler," the spirit of a beloved free jazz archetype is beautifully invoked. Tripolar conjures all of the essential elements that comprised Albert Ayler's musical persona. The essence of Ayler grew directly from gospel and R&B traditions; other ingredients were joyous airs that have been likened to Elizabethan nursery rhymes and echoes of military band music the young African-American saxophonist absorbed while in the armed forces overseas (one of these was the "Marseillaise" which Ayler playfully rechristened "La Mayonnaise"). Naturally enough for a native of southeast Michigan, Lindberg's "MC5" was named for Detroit's own original masters of plugged-in psychedelic rowdiness. This full-throttle release of raw energies feels very much like an encounter with one of Peter Brötzmann's units. The bracing "Send Off," on the other hand, is a swirling multiphonic workout for unaccompanied bassist. Live at Roulette NYC is an exceptionally fine example of where Lindberg has gotten to after decades of hard work and dedication to the art of creative improvisation. It should be regarded as one of the very best recordings ever to have appeared under his name.

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