Liam Sillery


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On a third release for Origin's more exploratory arm OA2, trumpeter Liam Sillery moves slightly toward the realm of free jazz. The pieces are not entirely improvised, nor are they fully charted. Indeed, the band works in collective improvisation at varying levels throughout the album, exploring new phrasing ideas, exploring some off-kilter motifs and some particularly dissonant triads à la Sun Ra. Sillery himself honks his way through here and there, trying out phrasings that normally don't lend themselves to straightforward, composed jazz. Furthermore, he duels with alto sax player Matt Blostein to draw out a little more energy on the brass. When the band moves into a blues motif, the drums and bass thump out a fairly standard backdrop of rhythm, though the lead instruments scoot back and forth across a couple of musical ideas, with pianist Jesse Stacken casually plinking in between the movements of the other players. The overall sound is that of a light free jazz -- Sillery isn't in entirely full and random exploration here, nor should he be. The sounds are structured, though often structured to include some dissonance, to include some off-key squawks. Free jazz is always a little bit of a fence for listeners, dividing jazzheads into those who like listening to free jazz and those who only appreciate its right to exist but eschew listening to it. Sillery's album itself sits right on that fence, not so terribly dissonant and abstract as to scare away listeners, but not so simplistic and straightforward as to make for a casual ambient listen.

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