Released on Kevin Norton's label, Barking Hoop, guitarist Kevin O'Neil's Sous Rature is much freer than the drummer's own compositions. Comprising one single 45-minute piece, this CD is an unstoppable fire music machine. The dual alto saxophones of Steve Lehman and Jackson Moore barely ever stop, machine-gunning each other in a relentless tag match. But they rarely step into the spotlight. Instead, their intricate lines provide a shifting background for O'Neil's work. His playing is more pensive than that of his feverish acolytes. Almost a classic jazzman in terms of guitar sound and technique (tonal sense is a whole different thing), his free improvising and occasional segments of written lines strongly recall Frenchman Raymond Boni. Credited to O'Neil, the piece's composed aspect is limited to occasional licks, general dynamics, and an ending that brings the listener back to the starting point. But it's one exhausting free jazz session. Norton comes through as a dynamo, Rashied Ali or Jay Rosen style. His previous recordings already made that clear but here he sweats even harder than before. The constant barrage of saxophones will unnerve a few listeners, but Sous Rature (titled after a semantic concept by Jacques Derrida) is definitely worth a listen. This studio recording features better sound quality than previous releases on this label.
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