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Brian Groder

Torque

(Latham; US: 2006; UK: Unavailable)

Here’s a superior set of contemporary jazz, blazing straight out of the long and unruly heritage of left-field explorations. Rising trumpeter and composer Groder is here teamed with the eminent saxophonist and flautist, Sam Rivers, plus Rivers’ usual rhythm section of bassist Doug Matthews and drummer Anthony Cole. Together, they whip up a bubbling, effervescent concoction of jagged, free-jazz group improvisations and hard-swinging free-bop that recalls Miles Davis’s mid-‘60s ‘time no changes’ output as much as it does Ornette Coleman’s confounding harmolodic experiments. Groder and Rivers seem unnaturally in tune, weaving lines around each other, finishing each other’s thoughts and anticipating statements with razor-sharp accuracy. And the Octogenarian Rivers remains a commanding presence, attacking his sax with a fiery vigour that leads one to conclude that, in his case, jazz is, indeed, the healing force of the universe.

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