Collective 4tet


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Five years have passed since the Collective 4tet's third album, Live at Crescent. Heinz Geisser and consorts reconvened at the Studio in New York City, with Jon Rosenberg sitting behind the desk. The music, one hour scattered over five improvised pieces, is somewhat more disciplined than previous efforts -- not that the musicians refrain from expressing themselves, but they do appear to be careful at first, careful to remain graceful and let the music dance by its own will instead of forcing it into motion. And soon they achieve that very goal and the music begins to exist on its own plane, creating its own laws of physics, as if each note had a performative effect on the universe. It's free jazz without the urge to be urgent or the need for one voice to step above the net of musical communion. "Convergence" is a well-chosen title, as the energies of all five parties -- the four musicians and the listener, clearly invited to get involved -- are attracted toward the same ever-shifting point in time and space. "Synopsis," the longest piece at 18 minutes, is more demanding to listen to; it is troublesome, instrumental voices arguing many points at once, relentlessly moving in and out of sync. The closing "Jig" emphasizes the jazz aspect of the music, William Parker's bass coming back to the front after spending most of the album quietly keeping the bottom end active. This quartet obviously has more things to say.

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