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Monday, October 10, 2011
All About Jazz Concert Review of Perry Robinson,Max Johnson and yours truly.....
Perry Robinson/Diane Moser/Max Johnson
The University Of The Streets
August 30, 2011
Native New Yorker Perry Robinson is not one of the better known free improvisers, but his stature is no less significant as a result. Within a certain scene the clarinetist has accrued importance, his activities stretching back to the early 1960s. This low-key set involved a trio with pianist Diane Moser and bassman Max Johnson, making up a mixed generational spread. They all have connections, but hadn't played together for quite some time. There was no sheet music in sight, but their improvisations existed within the realms of chamber composition, mostly being of a sensitively harmonious nature.
These three possessed a strong sense of instant composition, masterfully evolving ideas in a gradually linear flow. It appeared that the small gathering who witnessed this session were gripped by the music's concentrated aura. Though the medium-length improvisations were mostly serene, this didn't impede a recurring mood of thoughtful, introverted tension. All three players were expert at alternating sudden emphatic clumps of notes with contrasting streams of calm flotation. This was particularly apparent as Johnson's bruising bass lines, fingered with hardness in a gloriously unamplified state, were regularly alternated with groaning, bowed stretches, establishing a sequence of percussive bullishness, entering into hovering sustain. Moser, too, initiated sections where she was hammering with gusto, building up rippling blocks. Robinson maintained a superbly articulate clarinet poise, dancing loquaciously, only becoming more fragmented and strident during the closing piece. All three players were completely immersed in the music—much like their audience. This set's quieter, introverted methods were all the more poignant when set beside its fleeting outbreaks of aggression.