Ingrid Laubrock Forensic Review

Album. Released 2 May 2005.  

BBC Review

Third album as leader from young, versatile saxophonist and composer.

Lara Bellini 2005

Already known for her collaborations with the Brazilian-oriented NOIS 4 and the BBC Awarded F-ire Collective, saxophonist and composer Ingrid Laubrock shows an inextinguishable curiosity, testing stylistic boundaries both as composer and interpreter. Her investigative (indeed, forensic) approach to jazz shapes the album from head to toe, dissecting it under a playful scalpel.

Forensic employs the entire kaleidoscope of Laubrock's talents: she plays soprano, alto, tenor, baritone saxophones; she sings; she writes all the pieces (apart from three group improvisations). Still she is a selfless frontwoman: she knows when to step aside, and has that rare gift of being a great listener. All the band (F-ire recruits Ben Davis on cello, Karim Merchant on piano, Larry Bartley on bass and drummer Tom Skinner) are given plenty of room. If, as Dave Liebman would say, the most fulfilling role of a frontman is to guide and enhance one's fellow musicians' progression, then Laubrock must be contented indeed.

In terms of composition she leaps into the choppy waters of avant-garde jazz: a multilayered and spacious improvisational playground for Laubrock. We get zesty, contemporary classically derived high-pitched dissonance; unbounded sheets of sound; post-bop frenzy; post-rockish drumming; dry, minimalist sax riffs; stumbling piano improvs: they are all part of her musical diet.

With this wide, varied dynamic of styles Laubrock is urging us to dare to be playful; and intelligent. Ultimately, to stay curious.

It's a proposition that's hard to resist.

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