Opening a CD case like this one can be scary: herein lies a free jazz
trio wielding a slighty-off name, horrible artwork, a slavish two page
write-up by Mark Goble and, as an opening track, a 23 minute space
odyssey. Free jazz, like other improvised musical styles (Sonic Youth,
Tortoise, etc.), must walk a fine line between being too jazz -- and
therefore not "free" -- and being too free...and therefore not "jazz".
Futterman, Levin and Hunt add a few sonic flourishes (Indian flute,
kalimba, bells) to piano, tenor saxophone and contrabass. Their
individual tones are often wonderful, although the contrabass is low in
the mix and sometimes hard to hear. When the instruments come together,
something vividly spontaneous takes over the music. Although the long
first track, "Scenarios", drains attention through its final,
interminable crescendo, "Melon Juice"'s three minute burst of
relative-melody gives InterView an immediate shot of energy. From there, the
relative brevity of the rest of the disc's five cuts, along with an
increase in unity of purpose among the players, actively exploits the
genre's strengths while avoiding some of the weaknesses. "Dispatch"'s
layered horns zoom out and back in under a minute, and even "Micro
Climates", the final eleven minute workout, seems strangely organic.
Between the three of them, this trio has credentials to spare, which
shows in their skill as both soloists and almost-harmony players.
In a recent interview with the Onion, Ken Burns defended his
PBS series Jazz against accusations from jazz critics and
aficionados that -- among other things -- it had unfairly ignored years of
modern jazz, since the '60s really. Burns contended that the series he
made was history, and that more recent movements -- such as, in
fact, free jazz -- are still evolving and therefore not ready to be
committed to the history books. From the evidence of a record like
InterView, he seems to be right.