Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Real & Imagined Time
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, R&B
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Two unbeatable downtown New York saxophonists...
PH-50-NC | Southeast USA | 09/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Allmusic Review by Dave Lynch
As the rhythms kick in on "Railbread" and the band starts churning through a rollicking groove, a sense of poignancy is unavoidable -- not the feeling one would normally expect from such an upbeat form of jazz-funk. But here they come, the two altoists up front in the stereo speakers, Ned Rothenberg to the right and Thomas Chapin to the left: two unbeatable downtown New York saxophonists, who -- along with the other four stalwarts of the Ned Rothenberg Double Band -- are ideally suited to realizing the bandleader's conception for this most satisfying amalgam of jazz, funk, rock, and avant-garde music styles. And given Chapin's premature passing in 1998 -- robbing the scene of one of its early lights, guiding forces, and most enthusiastic proponents -- it will never be possible to experience this lineup on a stage again. But there are the two Double Band discs on Moers, and for that fact listeners should be grateful. On the evidence of Real and Imagined Time, the group was on an upward trajectory when the CD was recorded in May and July of 1993. It's sometimes tempting to credit drummer Jim Black with enlivening every project he's in; let's just say that there's no evidence here to contradict that theory. Black and Billy Martin work together on drums as perfectly as Rothenberg and Chapin on saxophones; like the reedmen, they seem more like one musician with the physical resources of two -- that's how closely their playing is integrated. Rounding out the rhythm section -- or perhaps squaring off, given their sharp and percussive attacks -- are Chris Wood and Jerome Harris on electric basses, punchy and nailing the groove from start to finish. Harris is also given a few opportunities to blast off with burning solos on electric guitar; any fan of his work with Bobby Previte's Latin for Travelers or Empty Suits should find much to admire in his flare-ups on the title track and the initial "Once and Future" portion of "The Medley of Unbroken Lines." The three-part "Medley" is one of those extended-form Rothenberg powerhouses, and it perfectly illustrates the saxophonist's skill in fashioning multi-sectioned narratives and his ability to find the funk root in his trademark ostinatos. The full band rolls with him in the first measures of "Once and Future," but after several minutes everyone has dropped off but the leader, who maintains the piece's harmony and rhythmic momentum with powerful solo circular breathing -- the effect is a little like crossing Evan Parker with P-Funk. The band re-enters to support Harris' solo, collectively raising the dynamic level back up into the red zone, only to bring it down in a hypnotic segue to "Freeka Seven," a soulful cruiser that layers and builds polyrhythms and polyphony over its initial 7/8 mid-tempo pulse. The Rothenberg alto and Chapin flute solos here, and the flute melodies that both musicians play in counterpoint, provide some of the CD's loveliest moments. As "The Medley of Unbroken Lines" reaches its final four minutes and "Freeka Seven" segues into "Open Jaw," Rothenberg and Chapin shift back to saxophones and the percussives are punched up to a more assertive level; all six musicians unite in navigating a tricky ensemble chart that builds to the suite's dramatic and rousing finish. The CD's title track is nearly as ambitious as "Medley," noteworthy not only for the aforementioned fretwork from Harris but also the moody alto ruminations from an unaccompanied Rothenberg, a fiery soprano solo from Chapin, an energetic tandem drum blowout from Black and Martin (Deadheads and Allmaniacs take note), and the off-kilter rhythm beneath beautiful soprano and alto lines as the piece winds toward a rather spacy and understated conclusion. Listeners familiar with Rothenberg's classic Power Lines CD will recognize "Fits and Starts," the last track of Real and Imagined Time, which reappeared on the later Power Lines in more chamberesque form as "Bellhop Vontz." The funk quotient is higher on "Fits and Starts," and it's intriguing not only to hear how different the two versions sound, but also how alike they are despite their highly improvised feel. The Ned Rothenberg Double Band had truly hit its stride on this CD, and it leaves the listener elevated while also providing yet another reason to mourn Chapin's loss. Moers apparently has a third Double Band disc in the can, and one wishes that it might see the light of day sometime soon. It's hard to imagine that it would be anything less than a tremendous recording -- and one to provoke the same mixture of joy and sadness as Real and Imagined Time."