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Kris Davis Underground: Save Your Breath

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The octet Infrasound is named for a low-frequency tone that is felt as much as heard. A phalanx of bass clarinetists-Oscar Noriega, Ben Goldberg, Andrew Bishop and Joachim Badenhorst-are the primary messengers of this mellifluous rumble, and are at the heart of this latest ingenious concoction from composer-pianist Kris Davis. But the soulful success of Save Your Breath resides as much with the unique rhythm section Davis has chosen. Organist Gary Versace and guitarist Nate Radley are equally adept at broadening the prevailing hum or providing spangled counterpoint. And drummer Jim Black remains the Charlie Chaplin of jazz rhythm, transforming pseudo-slapstick into high art with the esoteric brilliance of his timing and combinations.

In choosing engineer Ron Saint Germain, who has worked on records for Living Colour, Bad Brains and Sonic Youth, Davis makes it plain that sheer power is a priority. She flexes that muscle on two songs originally recorded with a trio: The episodic “Union Forever” is a remake of the title track from Union by Paradoxical Frog, with Versace delivering the orgasmic finale that originally went to saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock; “Whirly Swirly” (first done on Waiting for You to Grow with Tom Rainey and John Hébert) likewise builds to a crescendo, a stomping climax here primed by a guttural solo from Badenhorst.

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