In residence during The English Session in Birmingham at Jazz Connective next week drummer Matthew Jacobson has come up with the goods big time on Mere Nation.
Jacobson's sound lands in general terms somewhere between say Han Bennink and Bobby Previte and so what that means (in case you haven't heard him before and can't place what he is doing immediately) his is an open 'beyond the barline' soundworld, not necessarily banishing groove but not wholly dependent on it, pulse however always there and vital.
With a track featured on the Marlbank 25 February playlist regular readers will by now have gained a taster of Mere Nation (Diatribe) already.
In terms of a records back story Meets I Dig Monk, Tuned recorded at Bow Lane Studios in Dublin in 2013 with its “tapes” roll conversational feel, a successor to the palindromic Never Odd or EveN from two years earlier Jacobson with bassist Derek Whyte, alto saxophonist Nick Roth and trombonist Colm O’Hara plus cameos by Troyka’s Kit Downes, guitarist Alex Roth, trumpeter Alex Bonney and cellist Ben Davis the rock influences such as they are often evaporated into much more experimental music on that record partly indicated by the post-production with its scabrous electronica inflection but minus the beats of any overtly "commercial" dance music.
Mere Nation is a quartet album not cluttered by guests recorded in a Wicklow studio at the beginning of this year. Nick Roth, one of the most intellectual of composers, Colm O’Hara, returns too as does Derek Whyte. More avant garde than ever, I'm thinking Benoît Delbecq's work with Steve Argüelles a little on a track such as 'Cicaplast' more exactly, and although there is no pianist the exploratory space traversed is the same.
Roth is the soliloquizer rather than a soloist, in the sense of demonstrator, in key passages. 'Opener' moves more into Martin Speake-like territory but Roth however injects a few additional ingredients and is more Anthony Braxton-like than Speake ever is: the pick of the album.
The infrastructure of the tunes here is interesting and O'Hara provides most of the coarser texture. His bustling trombone sound sometimes doubles up with the bass guitar not playing in unison however but as a recruit for the rhythm section and adds a jagged edge. He provides a certain anarchy but this record also has a lot of discipline to it and you will find this half way through 'Opener'. Other highlights? In 'Haiku' Roth channels his inner Evan Parker going someway towards multiphonics and then heading back, that fluttering ache is where he is at his best and the sound, a winning resilience, hangs in the air. SG
ReDiviDeR, top. Photo: Diatribe