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Delirium: Eclexistence

Eclexistence reveals how much fertile soil was left untilled, 40-plus years ago, by pianoless free quartets like those of Ornette Coleman and Tomasz Stanko-Edward Vesala. Coleman and Stanko introduced a particular open-air concept, with floating but intense bass-and-drum energy supporting stark saxophone and trumpet abstractions-and then Coleman and Stanko moved on.

Delirium is still interested in exploring the challenges and stimulations of this nowhere-to-hide format. The musicians are all young, and either Finnish (multireed player Mikko Innanen) or Danish (cornetist Kasper Tranberg, bassist Jonas Westergaard, drummer Stefan Pasborg). The opener, “Drive-Thru,” has that headlong, anything-is-possible exhilaration of Coleman and Don Cherry at full rip. Tranberg and Innanen are absolutely up to the creative challenge, with meaningful subjective excursions, and so are Westergaard and Pasborg, who lay it down loose but hard.

Not that Delirium is imitative. They are more interested in detailed compositional form than their ancestors. They are more given to broad satire. Their works possess more dynamic range, sometimes diminishing to just-audible whispers and taps.

There are both studio and live tracks here. Live (e.g. “Iki”), Delirium is more inclined to direct gut-spilling improvisation, where all four excel. In the studio (e.g. “Jazz & Poultry”), they sometimes get stuck in self-indulgent cleverness.

Originally Published