An Hour of Now

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In the 2000s, members of the Tone Sharks' rhythm section got into some intriguing side projects. One was Boundary Issues; another is the trio Klobas/Storrs/Hundemer, whose An Hour of Now is an exciting example of electric free jazz. This avant-garde CD doesn't go out of its way to be accessible by mainstream standards; the improvisations are abstract and highly cerebral, and the three participants -- Mike Klobas and Dave Storrs on drums and percussion, Page Hundemer on electric bass and live electronics -- can be quite self-indulgent. But here's the thing: self-indulgence isn't necessarily a negative if you know what you're doing, and Klobas/Storrs/Hundemer obviously know what they're doing. An Hour of Now thrives on spontaneity, but the musicians have a sense of direction and a sense of purpose; consequently, this album sounds focused and confident no matter how far into left field they decide to venture. Drawing on influences that include Ornette Coleman's Prime Time, Ronald Shannon Jackson, electric '70s-era Miles Davis (à la Agharta or On the Corner), and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (among others), the trio takes listeners on a free-form journey that is bizarre, strangely funky, and rewarding -- that is, rewarding if one comprehends this type of music. So how does the trio manage to be self-indulgent and focused at the same time? It comes down to the fact that Klobas, Storrs, and Hundemer have a long history of interacting; their rapport is undeniably strong, and that allows them to take a lot of chances without falling on their faces. Electric free jazz can intimidate novices -- it's as much of an acquired taste as techno/rave music and death metal -- but for those who understand what's going on, An Hour of Now has much to offer.