Strap yourselves in. You’re in for a ride
unlike anything you’ve experienced. Saxophonist Quinsin
Nachoff challenges the listener with Flux
(Mythology Records, 2016).
Nachoff plays the tenor.
Accompanying him are David Binney, alto sax; Matt Mitchell,
piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog Rogue and organ; Kenny
Wollesen, drums, timpani, tubular bells, and handcrafted
“Complimentary Opposites” opens with some
quirky keyboard phrasing. The other instruments enter in
what might best be described as random switching on and off.
The saxes meld for what passes for a melody, but separate
once the song goes full force. Binney stretches his creative
muscle with an extended solo. His accompanists are seemingly
in another world, as no two appear to be on the same page.
Yet it somehow works. While each musician is in his own
world, they’re not in conflict. After Nachoff goes a round,
the mood softens for the acoustic piano. There, the drums do
appear to complement, at times barely audible. Mitchell and
Wollesen then take off on a parry and thrust sequence. This
continues after the tenor rejoins. A slight hint of reggae
is injected when the song shifts again, entering a more
melodic phase. The pace, intensity and quirkiness pick up as
the entire ensemble builds to an explosive ending. There are
many elements to this piece. At 10 minutes, the group has
time to cover them all.
“Astral Echo Poem” is the
closest thing to a melodic piece that has clearly defined
melodies and support from the background instruments. Even
so, it delves into the discordant, abstract stylings that
underscore the entire project. The title is an anagram for
the name of Hermeto Pascoal, a Brazilian composer whose
music inspired the track.
The idea for Flux
is to blend multiple styles of music, never presenting any
one genre long enough to get comfortable. “I like mixing and
matching things,” Nachoff says. “I try to find commonalities
between them (genres) to put people into different
landscapes to improvise in.”
Casual listeners may
take some time to get used to this music. You could call it
an acquired taste. It’s neither catchy nor danceable. This
music is intended for those who actually listen – shut the
world out and listen.