It's not only young NYC players who are digesting jazz, rock, and traditional music from around the world to produce a fiery new brand of improvised music. On (Co)Incidents, Vancouver saxophonist Mark Nodwell assembles a sextet of fine northwestern musicians for an engaging debut that touches on all of the above and more. Nodwell's long, episodic compositions (the shortest of the four tracks clocks in at just under 16 minutes) unfold slowly and thoughtfully, as rigorous composed passages give way to open form improvisation and back again. Though clarinetist Francois Houle and journeyman violinist Eyvind Kang (here on viola) will be the most familiar names to jazz/improv audiences, the entire band distinguishes themselves as players worth noting. The leader's nimble soprano conjures images of Asian and Eastern European winds more frequently than it does Sidney Bechet, while guitarist Khabu Doug Young scores points all over the map, from delicate accompanist to fierce soloist (his solo turn on "The Eyeball Spider's Progress" seemingly manages the odd task of reconciling In a Silent Way-era Miles Davis with Chicago indie rock). Drummer Jack Raham and bassist Masayoshi John Anzai are a dangerous rhythm section, thundering one moment, thoughtful the next. The group navigates Nodwell's demanding charts smoothly, leaping in and out of musical genres both familiar and fresh (and, more commonly, amalgams thereof) with utter conviction. As such, (Co)Incidents is a fine and encouraging example of young musicians intent simply on playing, unfettered by labels, expectations, or much of anything else.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Benton