Friday, 29 April 2011

Dosados (Babel Label, 2011) - Mark Hanslip and Javier Carmona

This is an album I've been waiting for for some time, ever since I noticed Mark Hanslip talking about sessions with Javier Carmona and the possibilities of recording. In fact I think that this is also a record that has come out of Mark Hanslip's personal development into the world of improvised music, being able to work with many of the top players in this field at the moment. I've noticed sessions with Mark Sanders, Paul Dunmall, Mike Hurley and of course the trio with Olie Brice and Tony Marsh, Tom-Mix. Also anyone whose followed British jazz in the past years will probably know the group Outhousea group that has developed over the years into a powerful force in UK jazz. What makes Outhouse interesting is the mixture between improvised and written and Mark Hanslip - who is no longer in the group - writing and playing was an important part  of 'that sound' and certainly helped develop the direction the group.

However, here we're talking about the duo CD and certainly a brave step for any jazz musician to take when playing improvised music. John Coltrane's Interstellar Space (maybe the first sax and drums duo album) followed by the likes of Jackie McLean and Michael Garvin, Anthony Braxton/Max Roach, Archie Shepp/Max Roach, David Murray/Kahil el Zabar and Evan Parker/Tony Oxley. There are surely many more, however it's an area which is difficult to work in and certainly not very 'user friendly' when hoping to sell CDs! What I find interesting on this CD outing is the way that Hanslip and Carmona have taken a similar direction to Coltrane in that they 'almost' play it straight. Of course that does NOT mean playing ballads and swinging standards, no, it's more a concept of working more on lines and rhythms as a focal point. In fact the first word that came to mind on hearing this CD was 'pointillism' - a method developed by some of the impressionist painters. The two instruments work together in way that almost seems to splatter (or is that spray) notes and skins onto the sonic landscape. Mucha Mierda builds little points of sax and drums, dabbed onto the canvas building into an intense free wheeling improvisation.    

:::: Horse-y (Tk 6) ::::

In fact much of the work here could be re-titled using painters and painting from the American artists such as Jasper Johns, Brigit Riley and Jackson Pollock. Track 11 - Jowls, and a Beard could be   Jackson Pollock's painting would sound like if they could speak! The track has a very delicate start, carefully placing of notes and beats until the music take it's own direction, an almost Zen Archery approach.    

Of course these are just ways to describe a sort of music which for me strongly conjures up images that are often abstract, but never without direction. The whole album is certainly an intense listen, which is not a bad sign in this day and age. In fact I heard Noah Preminger talking about the problem of listening to only 1 or 2 tracks from an album - usually 'the' one with the killing solo (or whatever is relevant). Is it a good album? Yes, for me it is, the music is never short of invention, it's atmospheric, colourful, intense yet has space, and actually it's all quite approachable  - listen to Preambolo to Nipple 2.    

:::: Preambolo to Nipple 2 (TK 4) ::::

Finally I should finish by adding that children are often better listeners than us where music is involved. They are not aware that one thing is fashionable and the other not, and music for them is just sounds and rhythms often representing 'a cow', 'an elephant', 'the rain', 'a forest' and such like. My children ran around the room, played scalextric, and generally had fun whilst the music played on, what more can you say?

p.s. Sorry not to mention Javier Carmona more, but unfortunately I couldn't find much about him. However I do see that he is very active on the UK scene and also in Europe. You'll have to do a little digging around on the net. As for Mark Hanslip check out the Twelves, early Outhouse (Outhouse and Outhouse Ruhabi), Alcyona Mick, Tom Mix and various other groups.

p.p.s. If you're interested in ordering this CD, DON'T order it from Babel, they are rather disorganised with their mailing service. You can always contact Mark Hanslip via his blog, or try to find it on Amazon ..... safer and surer.

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