ARCHER / KEEFFE / PYNE
Hi Res Heart
(2021 - Discus Music - UK)
For those who dislike the abstract improvisation of artists that bang away, blow, and perform like wild teenage kids who have not learned their instruments yet, but still feel a need to throw temper tantrums together as a unit, thinking no one will notice their lack of talent. And I mean DISLIKE this scenario.
You are with great fortune to hear this. A masterful trio of deeply rooted, dedicated with all their soul and minds, to make musical art that transcends the academic library of avant-garde jazz improv, and scales the walls of all that is called holy grail. If I ever knew an artist and label owner, who both ran a selfless music company, and contributed vast amounts of his own skills on many winds, brass, and various percussives (tuned and not, BUT certainly In Tune) etc, who was deserving of the title Keeper of the Flame, Musician for AACM Music, and person in pursuit of spreading the high talents of other mates, it is Mr. Martin Archer, who is 1/3 of this magnificent trio.
Creators are Martin Archer (sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone saxophones, Bb and bass clarinets, flute, bass harmonica, electronics), Charlotte Keeffe (trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics), & Martin Pyne (drums, percussion, vibraphone, toy piano). One would assume they spent years holed in an intimate studio, carefully putting this intricate puzzle of perfection together. And one would be totally incorrect. Unlike the satirical introduction I spilled out, Archer / Keeffe / Pyne have decades of experience, supernatural abilities to communicate in the all so tricky art of instant telepathic transference to arrange anything without former preparation (apart from a quote from Martin himself -as I spoke to him about this recording). From every multi-dimensional corner, with each mood, all bends and morphs, piece by piece, a pronounced wizardry of such. What sets this apart from the ordinary, even the parallel, are the many aural doses of visual and fertile scenery the band offers the listener. Ripe with many atmospheres, a trio rarely delivers this generous of a cultivated feast for the ears. You may think you have all you can handle with 'Sleep Uneasy' (track #9) arrives, but this partly dreamtime, otherworldly, and sometimes dark corner piece, rakes in even more points for outright over the top inventive inception. When I asked Martin about the preparation and any rendering of this release, he replied the following : "No we had no discussion about the music in advance and we didn't physically meet. Each trio member put down 4 solo parts, then passed the file to the next trio member, and then on to the final member to complete. We did this in every possible order within the trio. My own Song For Bobby Naughton is pretty close to the Leo Smith tune (same instrumentation), but I didn't ask for anyone else to do make parts in this style. Everyone did their own thing. I don't consider this to be an improvised record. Clearly there are tunes and arrangements present in most of the tracks. But these were arrived at without anything being written down. It was just a case of picking up on what one of the other players had already done. So, I guess it is improvised but with the benefit of studio time to plan each part". I say, sagacity in motion.
While no one except the ones who still exist and were part of that 70's scene of black music provenance in the avant-jazz world can know what elements made their works what they were (although blues is a definitive component), Archer / Keeffe / Pyne certainly respect and give great tribute to the era with this zenith titled "Hi Res Heart" (abbreviated "High Resolution" and translated to 'big hearted' in this instance). . And it might very well surprise those who think stereotypes, bathe in xenophobia, and/or just never did dip your ears into the beauty of this music, to take a chance and spend some time absorbing this showpiece. Three musicians sound like five or six more times than not, yet the pieces are never crowded, overdone, or filled with waste. This is a pure example of seasoned artists who create something special, although each member comes from a different background, based in diverse musical styles, the beauty of it as a whole, is just that. The chemistry is magical, the musicianship is second to none, and the interchange between all seeps in like fast blood as spectacular. HUGE RECOMMENDATION.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 6 - 1 -2021