Avant jazz fans with a taste for tight unison saxes, abrasive guitar, and high-energy, herky-jerky rhythms get exactly what they're looking for in the punchy opening of "Keep the Fool," the leadoff track on Brooklyn drummer/composer Andrew Drury's 2015 album Content Provider. But Drury's top-notch quartet, featuring saxophonists Briggan Krauss and Ingrid Laubrock and electric guitarist Brandon Seabrook, reveals striking changeability nearly from the get-go, as "Keep the Fool"'s tight launch drops away to give plenty of room for Laubrock's skronky Brötzmann-isms and Seabrook's skittering garagey noise. And while tenorist Laubrock and altoist Krauss tightly clip their funky phrasing in the following "El Sol," they soon grow slippery, sliding around each other over Drury's tumble before cutting loose with flurries of blurts ultimately leading back to the tune's starting point. While leaping into the freest modes of in-the-moment expression, those two opening tracks never lose focus, and in the case of "El Sol" -- barely over four minutes in length -- brevity is a particular asset. That's also true of the four-minutes-and-change soulful jazz-blues of Clifford Brown's "Daahoud," an invitation for listeners to kick back and luxuriate with skronk held mainly to the margins, and the six-minute concluding "The Band Is a Drum Set," as the group jumps around between unnameable sounds, collective mayhem, and sax-honking funk-metal taken at a measured plod. The 14-plus-minute title track, however, truly sprawls, its opening suggestion of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" well suited to the piece's relatively epic length. Driven by texture, timbre, and harmonic exploration more than groove and riffage, it demands full commitment to appreciate, returning to post-Ayler processional themes between the rising and falling of agitated, forceful group dialogues. The immediately following "Ancestors Friends Heroes" is thus well placed in the track listing, beginning with an engaging tribal rhythm that organically flows into Krauss' and Laubrock's free extrapolations before its doppelgänger re-emerges in a brief percussive coda to close. And along with some of the tightest, most incisive playing of the entire disc, "The Commune of Brooklyn" includes a bit of the jaw-dropping, ear-bending, floor tom-foolery marking Content Provider's companion volume, The Drum, in which Drury banished all other musicians and roughly 80 percent of his drum set from the studio. Hurtling from jabbing saxes and rough-hewn guitar to unfettered free jazz and pure sound, Content Provider keeps the unpredictability quotient high, aptly reflecting Andrew Drury's unlimited musical imagination.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Lynch