How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Buffalo Suicide Prevention Unit takes free playing to its outer limits on this self-titled release, improvising the tunes in the studio and letting everyone's collective musical instincts work toward creating a coherent whole. Because the tunes were improvised during recording, the disc sounds closer to a live performance than a studio session, underscoring the concept.
The opening cut, "Nothing Purifies Like Fire, lets you know what to expect. This half-minute of frenetic interplay by reedman Steve Baczkowski and percussionist Ravi Padmanabha sounds like a thumbnail sketch of Interstellar Space. "Without Love We All Feel Sad showcases the horns of Baczkowski, altoist Mike Allard and trombonist Michael Hermanson. Allard plays something close to a standard bop melody toward the middle of the piece as the hordes of free jazz bray and buck against his conventionality. "Still Life With Meat begins slowly, with the reeds lowing and Padmanabha percolating on percussion. Things keep brewing until they come to a full boil, with the horns charging the air like ions and Padmanabha using all of the percussive effects at his disposal.
The longer pieces on this disc are played with bold atonality and a truckload of brio, but the shorter ones have the greatest impact. The solemn "Elegy For One Another (with Baczkowski overdubbed on bugle and bass clarinet) and the excellent "Sojourn No Troppo work not only because of their comparative brevity, but also because the improvisers follow something close to a structure and play heartily without trying to blow the studio away.
Track Listing: Part I: Nothing Purifies Like Fire; Termites Eat the Wind; Revolting Phantoms; Without Love We All Feel Sad; Elegy For One Another; The Smoke Makes You Cough; Sojourn Non Troppo; Oak Flesh;
Part II: Still Life With Meat.
Personnel: Mike Allard: alto saxophone; Steve Baczkowski: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass
clarinet, bugle; Michael Hermanson: trombone; Leif Ingvar Nicklas: contrabass; Ravi
Padmanabha: drums, percussion.
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