Alan Silva

In the Tradition

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In April 1993, seven years after the quintet session that yielded the In Situ album Take No Risks, Alan Silva -- on synthesizer this time -- and British improvising percussionist Roger Turner teamed up again, joined by trombonist Johannes Bauer. The title In the Tradition might lead one to expect one of those respectful tributes to the elders, à la Wynton Marsalis or James Carter (but also Braxton and Shepp), but five seconds into the first piece (all the tracks are called "Standard") it's clear that listeners are in for a trip of another order. The synthesizer work is very impressive: the instrument has long been regarded as belonging to the pop/rock world, but Silva serves to remind listeners that Sun Ra and Paul Bley were among its very first champions (Ra's Moog adventures sound as far out today as they were back then, while Bley's early-'70s synth work hasn't aged well). Bauer and Turner are just as wild, and the album cooks from beginning to end, rendering any questions as to whether such strong and uplifting music should be called free jazz or free improvisation pretty meaningless.

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