Larry Ochs Sax And His Drumming Core - Wild Red Yellow [Rogue Art - 2017]Wild Red Yellow offers up three examples of often shifting, sonically varied, and creative improv. The release comes in the form of a CD on French label Rogue Art. This comes in the labels house style fold-out digipak; which features basic red, black & white color scheme, with a two-page write-up about the release within.
Larry Ochs is a New York City-based tenor and sopranino saxophonist, who since the late 1970’s has been putting out a mix of jazz & avant jazz. The first part of his career was with avant jazz & San Francisco based project Rova Saxophone Quartet, with latter collaborations with the likes of Fred Frith, and solo releases.
For this release, he’s joined by Natsuki Fujii - trumpet. Satoko Fujii- Piano & Synthesizer. Scott Amendola- drums, percussion & electronics. Matthias Bossi-thunder drum, Chinese gongs, shaky Flotsam(!), and percussion. And William Winant- Timpani, roto-toms, and percussion. And as you can imagine with the above list of instrumentation, this is rather varied in both it’s use & type of sound, though thankfully there is a definite feeling of both purpose & balance to all three of the tracks compositions here. And all three recordings were made in June 2010.
First up the just over twenty-three minutes of “Omenicity(For Julie Taymor)". This opens with a lopsided blend of clamoring/ detailed percussion & pitch shifting synth texturing. Fairly soon Orchs' Saxophone & Fujiis' Trumpet are added in, covering a mix of rapid honks & throaty bays. By around the forth, minute things have turned a little more moody & atmospheric, with a blend of cascading piano, watery metallic percussive slides, and subtle grain of electronics. From here on the pace & shape of the track moves effectively from taut-yet-wonky to spacey & detailed, onto layered. Through to mixes of detailed percussive & subtle noisy elements, back to a blend of the more lopsided & moody.
Track number two comes in the form of the just over nine minutes of “A Sorceress Fate”. The first thirty seconds or so of this track opens with tense & detailed percussive work-out, bringing together a tight rhythmic web of cymbal crash, top hit descents, and rim snaps. Next we get the introduction of wavering manic honks of the horns, before a delude of careening piano work takes hold too- all creating a wonderfully detailed cacophony. As the track moves towards its mid-point we get some nice joint horn swoons, which almost take things down a more formal path. But fairly soon the whole thing descend once more into a baying, bounding, and rushing avant jazz pile-up. Throughout the rest of the track we shift between dense chaos and the more harmonic rocking horn swoons- but mostly chaos is king here. I guess of the three tracks, this is least varied- though it’s worthy, and works nicely as bridge between the two longer tracks
The third & final track is another twenty-minute work-out, and this is entitled “Wild Red Yellow”. This starts out very pared-back with slow angular sweeps, whistling, & sudden-yet-sparse percussive hits. At around the two-minute mark a wonky, wavering & slightly Arabic sounding horn element comes into play. This is fairly soon joined by a strange electro melted selection of pitch descending human voices, as well as a selection of rustling & scratching box like percussive details. By the eighty minute we moved onto sudden gong hints, manic horn pile-up, and slicing ‘n’ crashing percussive runs. At the mid-way point we find a blend of tight & high pitch piano runs, shifting percussive scuttles & sudden scratches- all creating a nice feeling taut uneasy. Then around the fourteen-minute mark, a series of condescend & pained trumpet honks are brought to the fore, along with fidgeting percussion, and minimal electro drags. In the last quarter, we move to more detailed percussive & horn blends, which are edged with a noisy blend of electronics & synth stretchers- these move from more set & galloping runs. To the more Arabic tinged atmospherics, that features the weird pitch shifting voice elements from the beginning of the track.
In conclusion, this CD release offers up three well rounded, creative, and often varied examples of improv. I’d not heard much of Mr Orchs work in the past, but this release has certainly made me keen to hear more.Roger Batty