Suggests that the outfit have certainly got a fruitful future ahead of them.
Chris Jones 2009
Buffalo Collison represent the meeting of two generations of modern jazz. Tim Berne (alto sax) and Hank Roberts (cello) stem from the same highly influential free scene of New York's Lower East Side in the 80s as, say, John Zorn, while Pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer Dave King hail from younger trio, The Bad Plus. For many this is a dream ticket, for others there's a mild sense of misgiving. For while Berne and co. are known to be at their most comfortable with little structure or boundaries, The Bad Plus make their living by shoe horning a broad spectrum of 'classic' material, often rock, into their template. The good news is that both parties seem to have inspired each other. It may be a collison, but it's a very comfortable one.
(duck) features but three improvised numbers, two soaring past the twenty minute mark and, over their length, mutating into some surprising areas. First up: 1st Of 3 starts as a low end rumble, pock-marked by Roberts' cello scrapes and lightened by Berne's nimble alto excursions. By the halfway mark it's a freefalling squall driven by Iverson's classical extemporising and nearer the end it recedes again to just single notes from the bottom end of the keys and Berne's and Roberts squeaks and groans. At times Robert's cello approaches the sound of a human voice, and most alarming it is, too. Unsurprisingly you feel that the older guard are more concerned with texture whereas the younger duo add tempo, structure and, especially in Iverson's case, melodic touchstones.
This is certainly true in the second number 2nd Of 4 where he leads with a lopsided Latin dance figure only to be sidetracked into a full-on assault by the middle section. The third piece, 3rd of 5 takes you back to Berne's lithe journeys of old only to somehow drop you in some ambient backwater where sheets of plucked strings and gentle moans drift quietly into the night.
The tension between freedom and order means that it's wonderful stuff which is never less than fascinating. It also suggests that the outfit have certainly got a fruitful future ahead of them.