Lively free jazz from the new duo Bianco Brackenbury on Rising Up (DISCUS MUSIC DISCUS 112CD). Made very simply – violin or viola with drums and bass – the record is notable for its creators insisting on “first takes and no edits”, in an effort to transfer the “raw feelings” directly onto the tape, a strategy helped by the unfussy recording. Faith Brackenbury is a UK player not known to me, and I find she made a jazz record in 2017 for Pumpkin Records with saxophonist Martin Speake, and also played with the group Tiny Leaves for their Notes On Belonging (described by others as Modern Classical music). American drummer Tony Bianco has been steeped in jazz and improvisation for some time, making many records with UK blower Paul Dunmall.
If it’s “energy jazz” that crumbles your morning biscuit, you could do worse than check into the title track here which sustains an exciting fast-moving pace for all of 31:12 minutes, neither player flagging for a second. I’m assuming the bass part has been overdubbed, but it’s Bianco’s everywhere-at-once drum fills that impress us, adhering to the principles of open-ended time-keeping as proposed by Andrew Cyrille. Faith Brackenbury is a wonder – as well as the sheer brio of her playing, one admires the clean notes and accuracy of her fingering, not a fluffed line to be found. She also reins in any tendency to show off with mannered swoops or crazy effects, instead delivering taut well-constructed “instant composition” riffs that many would envy. Fans of Leroy Jenkins LPs should hear this record.
‘Gypsy Softbread’ is a markedly different performance, slower and more introspective, more breathing spaces and gaps in the fabric of the music. I’m assuming that the creation of this kind of multi-textured and episodic music is perhaps even more demanding than the “energy jazz” of track one, yet once again our two heroes maintain a steady production for all of 30:20 mins, successfully negotiating the yawning spaces and sullen silences (which would probably cause less able players to flounder) through shared respect and skilful playing. From 6th July 2021.