OTS is a series of jazz and improvised music events in Lexington, KY. The series tries to give a home to artists making music that doesn't fit with commercial sensibilities and to build an environment where artists and audience can interact more directly. It's a very informal undertaking.

Friday, September 23, 2005

review of last week's FME/Flaherty-Corsano show in today's Herald-Leader

A review of OTS/Event 053 from today's Herald-Leader. Glad to see that Walter took time to compliment Underlying Themes as well.

Lexington Herald-Leader
September 23, 2005
Weekender section

"The week that was"
by Walter Tunis, contributing music critic

FME with Paul Flaherty/Chris Corsano Duo at Underlying Themes

The working dynamics of these two free jazz ensembles were fundamentally the same. Both emphasized monstrous saxophone voices while utilizing drummers to design rhythmic foundations that moved and shifted dramatically underneath. It was as if the music lived and breathed on a fault line.

FME (Free Music Ensemble) is fronted by the always- resourceful Chicago reed player Ken Vandermark. He punctured his trio's exchanges with muscular leads on baritone saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet but regularly recoiled so bassist Nate McBride and drummer Paul Nilssen-Love could supplement blasts of elegant cool (on Exit Republic) or transform a wild march into jagged funk (on the 35-minute Decoder). Almost continuously, FME played with a unison voice instead of as a rhythm section that conventionally trailed a soloist. But its resulting music, provocative as it was, still balanced improvisational might with grooves that were infectious and inviting.

Saxophonist Flaherty and Corsano presented music that was more purposely conversive. With no bassist to work off of, Flaherty would erupt with tenor and alto sax leads of frightening intensity, while Corsano came across as a rhythmic pressure cooker full of ideas that his hands (and legs) could barely keep up with. During the second of two 20-minute improvs, Corsano wound up with the soles of his feet grinding metal dishes atop a pair of drumheads while he scraped out sounds on the rims of his kit with violin bows. A true Kodak moment.

A thumbs-up, as well, to Underlying Themes, a new loft performance/gallery space atop Buster's at the corner of Main and Upper. The sound it offered was contained, clear and efficient, while its overall vibe was informal and immensely cordial. Although it's hardly a penthouse, the venue seems poised to be a prime vehicle for giving underground art a towering, visible downtown presence.


Post a Comment

<< Home