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interview
The Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Trio with Randall Hunt
InterView
IML

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Buy it at Insound!


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.

-- Ryan Tranquilla
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