Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Mea culpa, mea culpa.
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 12/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of my many failings as a human being has to do with my inadequacies as an advocate for the music I love more than any other: free jazz. This is especially galling an inadequacy when I see that no one else has reviewed anything by Mark Whitecage.
Let me start out by stating my thesis: Mr. Whitecage is one of the most original and intelligent reed players in the genre. If you want to get some idea of how respected he is by his peers, go to his web site and check out his discography as a sideman or co-leader. He has recorded with Gunter Hampel, Sahib Sarbib, Perry Robinson, Michael Jefry Stevens, Joe Fonda, Dominic Duval, Marshall Allen, Roy Campbell, Joe McPhee and Anthony Braxton among others.
This is a man in his late sixties who has been playing since he was six and who has played everything from Dixieland to his latest experiments with his "virtual combo" (electronic augmentation of his playing to the extent that he sounds like a full ensemble).
On Split Personality, all of Mr. Whitecage's gifts are displayed at full strength. He is playing alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet and alto clarinet in the company of Dominic Duval (bass) and Jay Rosen (drums). This is a democratic trio where any of the three is likely to be the lead voice and all three are deep listeners as well as powerful improvisers.
Mr. Whitecage has provided his bandmates with simple but definitive structures. He does not believe in chord progression as he does not want to be tied to that anything that definite. But he does believe in stong if unusual melodies. He is a complete improvisor capable of playing practically any way on his horn. His extended techniques get a work out on Slick Willie and High Tech #7, his "ballad" sensibilities get a work out on tunes like Something About J.C. and his freebop skills shine on tunes like Katherine's Song. Most of what impresses me is the sense I get from listening to him of how focused he is. Mr. Whitecage strikes me as someone who is completely present when he plays. The result with someone like that is that the possibilities are wide open. Mr. Whitecage simply eschews cliches.
As for Dominic Duval and Jay Rosen they comprise one of the greatest rhythm sections of the day. They are powerful, sensitive
and also deep in the moment. Try this experiment. Purchase this CD of Mark Whitecage's and then purchase another called Journey by Trio X which is Joe McPhee alongside Duval and Rosen. Play them both on the spiral function on your CD player and listen to how differently Rosen and Duval play when in the company of each of these two great saxophonists. And then write me and tell me what a great guy I am for turning you on to two such fine CDs.
And maybe, just maybe I will feel a little bit better about myself as an advocate for free jazz."