This recording of the Atlanta-based Brahvar Large Ensemble's Gravity Suite in Seven Parts from December of 2000, recorded live at the Eyedrum Music and Art Gallery studio, is still their masterwork. Always featuring an ever-evolving cast of characters, on this outing the Brahvars numbered 14, their largest recorded membership. There are no track numbers on the package, but the delineation of sections happens on the CD itself, and, of course, along thematic and tonal lines. Interaction and combination seem to be the MO for "Gravity," an out jazz symphony of tangled saxophones, droning basslines, reed and brass engagements, and string entanglements over a host of rhythmic interplay. For those who need a cultural referent for this kind of jazz, think of Lawrence "Butch" Morris' big bands or the work of Barry Guy and the London Jazz Composer's Orchestra on "Theora." Long, quiet lines of dialogue are conducted between certain groups of instrumentalists before the ensemble breaks in as a whole and turns improvisation on its ear, moving from free to lounge jazz in the space of three minutes. And from there it's anybody's guess, as thematic and schema play into and off of one another with an incredible array of timbral encounters and harmonic inventions. This is large-group improvisation that sets an example for the American scene. Make mine, Brahvar, please.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek