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Conceptual Rhythm by Chris Olsen

Drummer, composer, and band-leader Chris Olsen hands us a trophy with Conceptual Rhythm; original free jazz material assembled by a highly skilled line up. The artists here use freshly, delicate and shaded sound nuances that borders on brilliance. The album’s music was originally created for FUR, a short film that tells the story of Rose, a Brooklyn girl who excels in her original pelt work with the ultimate goal of ending her stepfather’s sexual abuses. Rose eventually overcomes her grief and turns from victim to victor. Therefore, the opus hereby is grievously mirthful and celebrates the survivors of domestic violence, dignifying those still struggling for their freedom. Profits from the sale of this CD will benefit organizations working to stop domestic violence and child abuse.

The album contains a seventeen-part suite beginning with a joyless rhythm of strings and cymbals, dramatized with a poignant trumpet phrase. On "Roadkill Spirits", Olsen and Haynes’s percussion bell with sorrowful paces while Robertson leads us into a quiet improvisation. The music collides into bluesy Jim Yanda guitar lines and frenzied Haynes and Olsen cymbal work-outs, then into elegant Sean Parker’s alto clarinet improvisations, impressive Steve Geller bass ostinatos and Herb Robertson’s wounded trumpet sounds.Their counterpoint is advanced on improvisational musical concepts.

"Only When It’s Dark and Still" is the most tonal sounding piece on the record. It features delicate guitar playing and metered bass responses. Robertson/Parker/Geller’s trumpet/clarinet/bass exchange opens "Sculptchawitcha" until the rest of the band gradually enters to progress from soaring spaces to a minimalist soundscape. "A Dark and.... " is a remarkable piece which includes a fantastic drum solo from the leader and beautiful clarinet/trumpet duos coupled with powerful bass lines. It also displays a supple and modulated drum-percussion section that shifts from improv patterns to avant-garde jazz. "Many Footsteps Remain" closes the album on cherubic notes: the horns in extended techniques, laconic beats, shaded cymbals, simple bass ostinato, counterpoint and a soft theme. The soloing between the horns is amazing.

This release holds an array of complex music. Nonetheless it is also genuine and truly exquisite with a great amount of healing emotion.This album will give a worthy audience to a multi-talented artist like Chris Olsen.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Chris Olsen
  • CD Title: Conceptual Rhythm
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Independent Release
  • Rating: Five Stars
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