|CD LR 364 - LEO RECORDS|
Fusillades & Lamentations
Release date: 2003/02
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Saxophonist Wally Shoup is a major talent on a new music scene. Drawing equally from both free jazz and free improvisational notions of freedom, the Wally Shoup Trio (Reuben Radding on bass and Bob Rees on drums) puts its unique and overtly emotional stamp on a variety of spontaneous compositions. Liberating passion from its moorings through a process of writhing inter-play, the trio weaves sensitivity and harshness into whole-cloth compositions with equal parts sophistication and gut-bucketry. Unhinged from convention, the music both defines and follows its own peculiar structures, giving the Inner Voice a chance to sing loud and clear.
Total time: 65'08.
In Seattle, Shoup has maintained several mutable combos, perhaps most notably Project W, whose recordings have garnered much critical praise. For this lovely session, he has assembled a traditional alto trio, with a young rhythm section keenly attuned to the peregrinations of his muse. Bassist Reuben Radding met Shoup during a five year sabbatical he took from the Downtown NY scene. Living in the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Radding played in as many performance formats as possible, extending the dialectic of his technique, and soaking up the rain. His beautiful pizzicato solo in &Peloria& should make his mentor, Mark Dresser, proud, balancing itself, as it does, between glowing golden melody and rippling waves of power. But Mr. Radding's most glorious passages are probably those where he switches to arco mode, effectively doubling the horn line, creating powerful surging smoke-snakes that curl around and throughout Shoup's alto figures. Drummer Bob Rees has lately been noted as the most versatile avant garde percussionist in the region, excelling in every conceivable situation ‹ from symphony orchestra to free rock and back again. His training and the subtle calibrations of his ear are constantly in evidence, as he slides from Sunny Murray sizzles to Bennink-like hardware-clucking to extreme press-pulse dynamics. And rather than shift between these tropes as some sorta tune-specific schtick (as so many of his peers seem wont to do), Mr. Rees throws everything down like a collage, moving sideways through his entire range, in the course of a single piece if necessary. &Lament& is a case in point. From the Pan-African opening into a wig-tight, Mid Eastern-sounding smoke-circle, into mallet-wielding new music clomps, Rees is there, laying it down with power, beauty and all requisite telepathy.
It is Wally's gig, however; no matter how horizontal the implied focus is inside this trio, it all comes back to him. And he is in fine form. The mass and sheer cutting edge of his alto assemblages are unique, and his signature sound manifests simultaneous forks of rough power and brainy sophistication. Inside the weird modules of &Peloria& he almost comes off like a rogue Tristano-ite collaborating with street thugs. For &CorkSkrewed& he is all extended technique, clucking and splutting in the manner of a cheese-soaked European. For &Laying Low& he reaches back to his smoky R&B roots, bar walking elliptically through a lost roadhouse on a street to nowhere. If Elmore James played alto saxophone and had a taste of psychedelics, he might well conjure some of the same cracked sonics as Shoup.
Throughout this session, Wally's playing is superb. A combination of brains, lungs and unknown-tongue-swing that will pick you up and drop you back onto the curb, puzzled and enriched by forces that erupt from the universal subconscious, as does all great intuitional art.
With fusillades and lamentations for all.
-- Byron Coley, Jalisco Mexico 2002
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