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Album Review

Clarinetist/saxophonist Dexter Payne has an interesting take on Whitney Balliett's term "the sound of surprise," which is how the well-known critic describes jazz. Payne has stated that with the more accessible forms of jazz — which could be anything from Dixieland to bossa nova — listeners are given a mixture of surprise and familiarity, whereas free jazz is "total surprise." And total surprise, Payne asserts, is something that only a small group of listeners are able to comprehend and get into. Some people have described free jazz as the punk rock of jazz, but in a post-Nirvana, post-Nevermind world, punk is downright mainstream — and free jazz has remained very underground. Nonetheless, free jazz's true believers carry on fearlessly, which is a good thing because for those who do comprehend an album like Immolation/Immersion, the rewards are certainly there. Although not groundbreaking by mid-2000s standards, this 2005 date is an enjoyable demonstration of what electric guitarist Nels Cline, alto saxman Wally Shoup, and drummer Chris Corsano have to offer in a free jazz environment. Some avant-garde jazz favors an inside/outside approach, but this trio is outside all the way — and the outside serves Cline, Shoup, and Corsano well whether they're getting into dense, chaotic atonality or going for something that is reflective and spacy in an AACM-ish way. Even at its most chaotic, Immolation/Immersion isn't as extreme as the blistering work of Charles Gayle or post-1965 John Coltrane; nonetheless, this is very abstract, cerebral, uncompromising music that must be accepted on its own radical terms. Immolation/Immersion won't go down in history as a disc that points avant-garde jazz in any new directions, but it's a worthwhile effort that free jazz diehards should be aware of.

Biography

Born: 1975 in Englewood, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Like Glenn Kotche and Tim Barnes, drummer Chris Corsano made a name for himself as an avant-garde drum master equally adept in pop settings, and a master inventor in both. With an expressive palette made from various prepared drum techniques, including butter knives and kitchen bowls on the drum heads, Corsano collaborated with Björk, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, and Jim O'Rourke while maintaining...
Full bio
Immolation / Immersion, Chris Corsano
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  • €9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Alternative
  • Released: 27 September 2005

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