Scott Fields Ensemble

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Guitarist and composer Scott Fields has assembled his long-running ensemble for another foray into his strangely beautiful tonally organic universe. If Oregon had begun without horns, playing all Western instruments and moving through vanguard transpositions of serialism and post-Coltrane vanguardism, they might have sounded something like this. Fields writes delicately balanced pieces for strings and percussion that bridge the gap between jazz, new music, and free improvisation because they are simultaneously all of them and none of them at once. His sense of balance and harmony are impeccable as he shoves tiny angular figures against percussive accents ("The Plagiarist"), or opens the tone field with long, drawn out spaces draped with minimal finery ("Poem for Joseph"). This is not to say the band doesn't swing, because they do, just not in a linear way. Their reliance on each other to move a difficult harmonic sequence through to its fruition and into the field of "playing," as on the title track, creates in them a sense of driven tension, one that is equal pars abandon and nuance. This is an elegant, graceful, and very forward thinking approach to jazz. Highly recommended.

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