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There Was... by Arrive

This quartet provides a many-sided viewpoint, where freedom of expression is laconically aligned with the avant-garde strata. Stationed in Chicago, the quartet led by alto saxophonist Aram Shelton offers a program consisting of subtle hooks, detours and focused theme-building exercises. Engineered upon straightforward bop, capacious improvisation, and numerous subplots, the quartet throttles the intensity level throughout.

Shelton and vibist Jason Adasiewicz are strong foils, whether they generate light and perky swing vamps or abide by a flotation-like modus operandi, witnessed on “Cradle.” Strategically interspersed with unanticipated unison choruses and linear phrasings, the musicians sustain a fresh sound, sparked with bristling flurries and counterpoint maneuvers.

Shelton is a fluid saxophonist who keenly sculpts melody and dissonance. Therefore, he straddles a fine line between the free realm and post-modernism. Moreover, the rhythm section shades, complements and assists with revving up the overall game-plan. For instance, on “Fifteen,” the soloists fuse sparse phrasings into an introspective motif, nicely contrasted by drummer Tim Daisy’s off-kilter responses. And with the final track “Golden,” the band is in no rush to get anywhere, but raises the pitch during the bridge.

Arrive is a unit that crafts a mark of authenticity but doesn’t slash and burn with maddening intensity. In effect, the musicians enliven the freer realm with an artsy underpinning. Therefore, the album is not a platform teeming with innumerable technical gymnastics and wanton soloing spots. Among other positives, it’s an endeavor created with substance and fluent ideas that synchronize the best of many jazz-induced mechanisms.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Arrive
  • CD Title: There Was...
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Clean Feed
  • Rating: Four Stars
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