Chunks of Zen

The Tone Sharks

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Chunks of Zen Review

by Rick Anderson

Imagine a cross between the loopy good humor of Happy Apple and the intense harmolodics of late-period Ornette Coleman and you'll have a general idea of what to expect from the Tone Sharks. Group improvisation has a long and varied history in jazz, beginning with the multi-layered solos that typified early New Orleans jazz and continuing up to the willfully forbidding noise collectives of New York's downtown avant-garde and England's improv music scene. The Tone Sharks seem to come from a different tradition altogether, one equally rooted in classical, jazz, and funk. Though groove is anathema to many free music practitioners, the Tone Sharks deliver groove almost promiscuously, and their music is better for it -- though there is less groove-oriented material on this album than there was on their previous effort. Here the textures tend to be a bit more pointillistic, though saxophonist Tom Bergeron's snaky melody lines and Dave Storrs' multifaceted drumming still provide threads of consistency throughout the sometimes random-sounding proceedings. Start with the previous album, then move on to this one.

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