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Roswell Rudd/Jamie Saft/Trevor Dunn/Balazs Pandi: Strength & Power

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Strength & Power shows how opting for brute force in a totally improvised context can yield the sort of explosively coherent free jazz that transcends noisemaker stereotypes. The trio of pianist Jamie Saft, acoustic bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Balazs Pandi have concocted propulsive, pure improvisations alongside guitarist Joe Morris in the band Slobber Pup, and various pairs of the three have powered ensembles ranging from Metallic Taste of Blood to projects headed by John Zorn. But the secret, clarifying agent for their collective incandescence arrives in the form of 80-year-old trombonist and free-jazz pioneer Roswell Rudd.

Having worked with pianist Cecil Taylor, Rudd knows how to meld in and punctuate the torrid flow of Saft’s glissando vamps and hammered chords, even as Dunn and Pandi pummel and bash beside them. As a longtime associate of the renegade Monk interpreter Steve Lacy, the trombonist is able to brandish fatback blues drawls that put an ingenuous spin on the spirit of Monk when it is invoked at the onset of “Cobalt Is a Divine.” On all of the half-dozen spontaneous compositions, Rudd’s stature inspires his three younger sidemen.

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