Pete Robbins: Waits & Measures (2006)
Although it's been over 35 years since Miles recorded Bitches Brew, music purists still experience seismic spasms whenever a musician releases an album that aggressively and successfully fuses jazz with rock. Waits & Measures is not so much a fusion album as it is a remarkable commandeering of sometimes conflicting harmonies into a smooth, cleverly voltaic record. Pete Robbins' music demands that the listener allow the music to unfold layer by layer, which it does, with dizzying speed.
Robbins (alto saxophone, clarinet) explores both soft and abrasive tonal qualities in the context of various rhythms. Joining him are Sam Sadigursky (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet), Eliot Krimsky (Nord Electro, Fender Rhodes, glockenspiel), Mike Gamble (guitar), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums).
The pulsating coolness of "Cankers and Medallions passes through a brief electric strip which branches into a charmingly fiery segment that you might have expected, but takes you by surprise nevertheless. This jaunty, electrifying bit is enjoyable by itself, but it gains its effectiveness when spiked by the soft, trailing rhythms that follow. Weiss' drum solo engulfs all the other instruments' offerings on "There There, another meat-and-potatoes jazz piece tinged with a rocky but diaphanous and clean beat. The result is a maddeningly superb array of jazz and funk, with notes squatting to fit tightly between the tempo changes.
Waits & Measures is a lovely reminder of what a jagged rhythmic whim can do when paired with an extraordinary ear for tonal congruency and a restless but measured inability to wait.
Track Listing: Inkhead; Waits and Measures; Candy To the Crowd; Why Not Us; There There; No One Cares About Your Dreams Unless You Dreamt About Them; Cankers and Medallions; Rodil; Amadelia.
Personnel: Pete Robbins: alto saxophone, clarinet; Sam Sadigursky: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Eliot Krimsky: nord electro, Fender Rhodes, glockenspiel; Mike Gamble: guitar; Thomas Morgan: bass; Dan Weiss: drums.