Usually, when you read phrases like “spontaneous compositions” on the liner notes of an album, your first association is usually, “cacophonic ramblings”. Well, in the hands of vets like drummer Maury Baker, guitarist Daniel Coffeng, Jim Goetsch on sax and electronics and bassist/electronics man Carl Royce, you get two separated discs of rich impressionistic art, easy to follow and even easier to appreciate.
The gents divide the 2 discs into “new jazz works” and “new electronic works” with the songs ranging from just under four minutes to a dash over fourteen. The New Jazz Works gives hints of the first couple Weather Report albums, Miles Davis in his In A Silent Way/Bitches Brew period and with a dash sprinkled of Pat Metheny. Baker, who’s made a name for himself with Frank Zappa, Ron Carte and Jimi Hendrix , is richly adept at keeping the pulses moving with floating cymbals, making currents like a spring stream under Goetsch’s soprano sax and the moody electronics on “Flatland” and the ethereal “Cycle”, which also features some clean and dark guitar brush strokes by Coffeng. Dark nimbus clouds with dashy of bluesy interplay between Royce and Coffeng on “Asymmetric”,as well as the splashy synthy soundscapes on “Medium Cool” give a modernizing of a “ Shhh/Peaceful” feeling.
Cool darkness and richly textured shadows throughout.
The New Electronic Works is a bit more playful, with echoes of birds propelled by Coffeng in”Aviary”, some nifty weaving in and out of electronic gurgles by Coffeng on “Omen” and clever uses of voice and electronics on the “Toledo”. Eerie film noir atmospheres akin to a Fritz Lang production are created when the gents plug in with some violin sounds melding with Goetsch’s soprano for a harrowing “Conversation’” with rich and clean modern bopping musings delivered by Coffeng on the mix of ambience and swing on “Gesture” and “Toledo (realization 2)”. Tasty textures of tones.
Cultivated art-rock drummer Maury Baker (Ars Nova, Tim Buckley, Frank Zappa) strokes it light & spacious on jazz and electronic tunes/jamz with bandmates Jim Goetsch (sax), Daniel Coffeng (guitar) and Carl Royce (bass). Detailed recording and trippy surround-sound complement tuned-in performances and moody intelligence for a deeply involving audiophile experience, if that ain't a dirty word.
THE GROTESQUALIZER BLOG
Accomplished drum master Maury Baker’s quartet has prepared new material called “New Works.”
The composition “Return,” representing the album, is peculiar ECM jazz with big leaps to impressionism and other Western classical music. Forming a field for otherworldly fantasies, the deep double bass lies in wait for the soft, laconic piano, while the drum part spreads nearby, and the slightly muffled snare drum becomes an excellent atmospheric find. You’re like a feather in the wind of a lucid dream, and it seems that Baker's Brew's music is about to flow away towards spiritual jazz, but after the third minute, it moves to dark corners, becoming almost a surreal mystery with a touch of Scriabin or Messiaen. Baker's Brew is adept at introducing littleknown, picturesque sound spaces to the listener.