Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Uri Hornstein
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Sticks and Stones – Sticks and Stones (2002)

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

A Darker Shade Of Blue

Sticks and Stones – Sticks and Stones (2002)
(Avant-Garde, Modern Jazz)
Format : CD, Album
Label : 482 Music – cat#: 482-1012


Fans of Thrill Jockey will likely be familiar with at least two of the three musicians on this record. Drummer Chad Taylor is a primary member of the Chicago Underground Duo/Trio/et al. Bassist Josh Abrams is known for his work in Town and Country, as well as playing with Tortoise, Sam Prekop and Brokeback. The group ’ s third member, Matana Roberts, performs with the Boston Microtonal Collective, is a member of the venerable Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and has studied with such jazz innovators and academics as Steve Coleman, Joe Maneri, John McNeil (whose composition “ Lose My Number ” is covered here), and Ran Blake. This trio, from the start, constitutes a provocative mix of progressive players.

While Sticks and Stones is far more conventionally ‘jazz’ than much of the jazz-informed music created by Thrill Jockey ’ s roster, there is a swinging, unrestrained tone to the music that is reminiscent of a few of that label ’ s bands—notably and understandably the Chicago Underground collectives. The best way to describe the music heard on Sticks and Stones is probably post-bop, which, admittedly, can mean anything from Eric Dolphy to Wynton Marsalis. The music is given to a little more groove than traditional bop, and the melodies are a little simpler. The band is recognizably informed by avant garde and Free Jazz traditions, and the playing is uniformly unrestricted.

The songs here are equally divided between the three composers in the trio, with two covers (the aforementioned “ Lose My Number, ” and the Junior Delgado/Lee Perry tune “ Sons of Slaves ” ) included within the collection. On the impressive reading of “ Sons of Slaves, ” the musicians aren’t fazed by the disparity between dub and jazz– they deftly incorporate a bass- heavy, percussive groove while still essentially sounding like a jazz act. The subdued playing on this track nicely exhibits the overall collaborative effort of these three musicians (as songwriters as well as players) and their common ability to complement each other ’ s vision (even if Abrams does eventually come to the forefront).

Taylor ’ s compositions initially stand out as the most methodical, down-tempo passages on the record, particularly “ Suhassani, ” the most honest ballad of the bunch. Indicative of the goals of the record as a whole, On the pieces penned by Taylor, the group displays an urge to break free of the seemingly calm confines of the compositions. This tendency is heard most clearly on “ End of the Game, ” particularly in its excursions into barking swing, which flow into free wandering and back again. The drummer ’ s final track on the album, “ Salvador, ” is reminiscent of Sun Ra, with its meandering rhythm and optimistic horn poking in and out of the melody.

Abrams ’ tunes, as one might expect of this trio ’ s bass player, employ the most sophisticated bass arrangements on the album. His three songs offer ample space for both Taylor and Roberts to play over him—in many ways Abrams is this band ’ s anchor—but also showcase exactly how much is going on at the low end of this record. Taylor and Roberts virtually explode throughout this album, but Abrams ’ songwriting most poignantly reminds the listener of the collaboration of three musicians at play here.

The cooperative aspect of the playing on this recording (perhaps most recognizable in theory) aside, this band ultimately comes off as a platform for Roberts to present her esoteric vision of contemporary jazz. The more texturally ambitious soundscapes of Town and Country and the Chicago Underground groups are entirely absent here. This is strictly—if rather avant garde—jazz, of the variety that is more similar to the outside work of Roberts than to that of the other two players.

If Roberts seemingly emerges as the leader of this band, she ’ s also the group ’ s best songwriter within the musical context (i.e., straight-ahead jazz) explored on Sticks and Stones. Roberts ’“ Hannibul ” offers a kind of free jazz squawk as its centerpiece. That track is easily the loosest composition on the album, and the song is more well-suited to the other two members than anything else found here. The track is then followed by the strangely conventional “ Spaces, ” a slow-tempo groove incorporating a lucidly stated melody with little improvisation. The juxtaposition of these two songs, though, expresses Roberts’ command of jazz songwriting, and utilizes that talents of Abrams and Taylor wonderfully: the former taps the two musicians’ wonderfully spastic abilities to play freely, and the latter demonstrates the rhythm section’s appreciation of a structured groove. The two songs are also the most fully realized expression of the talents of these players.

By Cory O’Malley (Dusted Review)

The link will be send to members of A Darker Shade Of Blue (*)

If you are not a member and you want to join us, you are welcome;

all you have to do:
1. Sign up as a Follower of A Darker Shade Of Blue. Use the “Join this site” entry located above the the Follower’s pictures, to register. Verify that your name appears on the list.

( Make sure to tick the square “follow publicly” and not “follow anonymously”;
If you choose the later your name will be invisible

2. Send us an email your Follower’s name and requests (up to 4 items)

to: [email protected]

(*) If you are a Follower of the blog and you didn’t receive the link, it’s probably because we don’t have your email address.
So send us a confirmation with your Follower’s name and a valid email address and will add you to the mailing list.

Uri Hornstein

Read more at A Darker Shade Of Blue


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.