All I can say is "WOW!" If you've been reading my reviews over the last couple of weeks you'll know that we here at Splendid have recently gotten our hands on some really nice jazz discs. Fortunately for me, most of them seem to have found themselves on my desk! Two weeks ago I raved about Steam. Then last week I couldn't find enough good things to say about the Bruce Arnold Trio. Today I'm at a loss for words because Myriad is just too breathlessly beautiful to write about.
Gregg Bendian is a wildly talented drummer/percussionist who has played with cats like Cecil Taylor, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Pat Metheny and John Zorn. For Myriad he teams up with Nels Cline on guitar, Alex Cline (who takes over on drums while Bendian shifts to vibes) and Steuart Liebig on bass. The four of them effortlessly spin the most intricate jazz/rock textures, stuff worthy of anything from the great early days of fusion (think Return to Forever). It's easy to see why these guys are popular in both jazz and prog rock circles -- they can really jam!
But the Interzone's music goes beyond some arbitrary genre like jazz or rock. Bendian's ties with free jazz legend Cecil Taylor are clear, because there is a distinct element of anti-conformism on Myriad -- or maybe it's transcendence. Whatever it is, it strikes you in the middle of a track when you realize what you're hearing. This music is the result of real, spontaneous collaboration. It's four unique individuals managing to come to an artistic consensus with such harmony and articulation. And the sheer creativity that is the result is staggering. This is the quality that is hardest to pin down about Myriad, but it's what makes it so much deeper than most of contemporary music.