Drummer Phil Haynes dryly calls Live Insurgency-Set 1 “a subtle counter-attack to the ongoing process in jazz of historic repetition.” Not. This trio with trumpeter Paul Smoker and organist Jeff Palmer gleefully creates havoc with the organ trio format of the ’50s and ’60s, and in doing so validates the format’s creative viability instead of its nostalgia value. A Blakeyesque blues march like Haynes’ “Where’s The Door?” is stretched and twisted like Silly Putty; the pocket ends up way way out. Their “My Funny Valentine” is phantasmagoric. Even Haynes’ “Blues For Israel” is built on a phrase from “Somewhere” from West Side Story, giving it a glint of transmogrified Broadway glitz. Yet, the relentless drive and hard-core virtuosity of the trio makes the set much more than just a hoot. Smoker has killer chops and an extensive timbral palette; Palmer combines serpentine lines and labyrinthine cadences to original ends; and Haynes is an energy-efficient powerhouse. This is one of the cooler albums of ’98. Bring on Set 2.
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