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Wayne Shorter Quartet, Hospital Ships, Paula Poundstone

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wayne Shorter Quartet

Without A Net

(Blue Note)

 

For over a decade, Wayne Shorter’s acoustic quartet has been the most exciting working band in jazz. Unfortunately, there’s been too little recorded evidence of their telepathic ability to erase the line between improvisation and composition and create spellbinding drama from utter abstraction. This band—with pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade—equals the classic Miles Davis quintet that featured Shorter and extends its musical language. The live Without A Net doesn’t take the full measure of a group known to create mesmerizing 80-minute suite-like sets, but it does capture their ability to generate unexpected fireworks and extreme lyricism. Old chestnuts like “Orbits” are radically transformed, alongside the showtune “Flying Down to Rio.” There are a couple of new compositions, but the centerpiece is the 23-minute “Pegasus,” recorded with a wind ensemble and showcasing both Shorter’s compositional skills and his band’s dazzling interplay.

Hospital Ships

Destruction In Yr Soul

(Graveface)

The promo material about Hospital Ships, which began as the basement recording project of Lawrence, Kansas’ Jordan Geiger, is hyperbolic. It says this full-band version of Geiger’s project is “peppered with the dark visions of Townes Van Zandt, the biting lyricism of Damien Jurado, the apocalyptic dread of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and the guitar antics of Ty Segall.” The truth is more modest. A lightweight airiness pervades the album, not least because Geiger’s voice is high, thin and young. Beneath those vocals, you’ll often find a quiet folk sensibility that sometimes—and these are the album’s high points—gives way to big, grinding slabs of sound. His folk earnestness is fairly standard; his explosive soundmaking is the real show. Unfortunately, those airy vocals get lost amid such big sounds. A very cool sense of adventurousness is at play, and, though it’s not always a cohesive formula just yet, it makes the question of where Geiger goes next particularly intriguing.

Paula Poundstone

I [Heart] Jokes: Paula Tells them in Boston

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