Larry Ochs – tenor and sopranino saxophones
Mark Dresser - bass
Vladimir Tarasov - drums and percussion
LP & Digital Download:
1 A Fistful of Jones 06:32
2 Twelve Angry Jones 11:45
3 The Jones Who Knew Too Much 08:22
4 Three Jones Outside Ebbing, Missouri 08:09
Digital Download Only:
5 Night of the Living Jones 07:53
6 The Jones Who Never Was 06:10
7 Gone With the Jones 06:19
Recorded in concert in California:
by Art Granoff in Berkeley, at the home of Harry Bernstein and Caren Meghreblian, on May 28, 2016. (tracks 2,4,5)
by Tim Pinch in San Diego, at The Loft, on May 24, 2016 (tracks 1,3,7,8)
Produced by Larry Ochs.
Musicians also thank Henry Kaiser, Myles Boisen, Carol Del Signore, Jeff Denson, Lisa Mezzacappa and the gentlemen of No Business.
All compositions by Mark Dresser, Larry Ochs, Vladimir Tarasov.
Jones Jones: A Jones in Time Saves Nine (NoBusiness)
Jones Jones is a free improvising trio consisting of Bay-area saxophonist Larry Ochs and bassist Mark Dresser along with the Lithuanian-resident drummer Vladimir Tarasov, who turns 72 this month. That “Jones”, doubled in the group name, may have the standard usage of “craving”, but it’s a rampaging impulse to free expression and sonic exploration, an impulse to open dialogue that creates and discards textures and moods with radical abandon, regularly driving toward new life and new sounds. That compulsion drives every episode and is enshrined in every track title, here inserted, jonesingly, into the titles of famous films, whether classic or recent, hence “The Jones who Knew Too Much” and “Three Jones Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.A Jones in Time Save Nine is released on LP with three additional tracks available as a download.
The greatest challenge in discussing free improvisation is adequately describing degrees of collaborative empathy or engaged difference, but a high degree of either (or both) is the mark of any really good improvising ensemble and present here. The instrumentation of saxophone, bass and drums insists, to some degree, on the jazz tradition and paths lead to rhythmically propelled dialogue. Ochs is a wildly vocalic player: notes bend, overtones rush in, sounds contort (at times suggesting the breathing apparatus of Archie Shepp’s Ben Webster wedded to the bullying warmth of Evan Parker’s Coleman Hawkins, for anyone seeking easy parallels). Dresser adroitly handles multiple pluckings and bowings while Tarasov is always listening, feeding and finding new directions, a master of conversational dynamics and nuance.
Directions change rapidly and impulsively: “A Fistful of Jones” begins with roars and squawks and rattles, a call to order that later find sustained momentum. “Twelve Angry Jones” starts with shrill, high-speed sopranino, only to embrace, minutes later, a kind of warm balladry with Dresser finding his bass’ inner trombone. One feels the spontaneity and empathy everywhere here, whether Tarasov revealing at one point that a bass drum is all he needs or Dresser dredging electric cicadas from his acoustic bass. There are all kinds of improvising ensembles around, but Jones Jones actually insists on improvising. For more information, visit nobusinessrecords.com. Dresser is at The Stone at The New School Jun. 12th.
Jones Jones: A Jones In Time Saves Nine
Over a decade in existence and the free jazz trio Jones Jones has just dropped its third album. That's not exactly prolific, but may well be an accurate reflection of the challenge implicit in bringing together colleagues separated by the 5795 miles between reedman Larry Ochs and bassist Mark Dresser in California, and percussionist Vladimir Tarasov in Lithuania. But the wait has been worth it with A Jones In Time Saves Nine ranking as their finest work so far, surpassing their previously most widely-distributed session Moscow Improvisations (Not Two, 2016) in emotional intensity and focus.
Each of the mature talents involved boasts an impressive history. Dresser was the bassist in Anthony Braxton's classic 1990s quartet, while Tarasov was part of the Ganelin Trio, hailed as "arguably the world's greatest free jazz ensemble" in their 1980s heyday. Ochs has been one quarter of the Rova Saxophone Quartet since its inception in 1977. But as noteworthy as their illustrious track records is the fact that they still nurture an adventurous streak. All the nous derived from these various groundbreaking escapades finds its expression in their work together.
Released as an LP with three digital bonus cuts, the seven off-the-cuff exchanges, selected from a pair of 2016 live dates in California, portray a hugely empathetic approach. As well as the expected instrumental prowess, their progress is distinguished by close listening which births stimulating juxtapositions and contrasts. Tarasov's role is particularly important. He does just what's needed without a desire to grandstand. His taut percussive patterns add to the richness but not the density, maintaining a transparent and open feel which allows Dresser and Ochs to shine.
Indeed, the disc features some of the saxophonist's most direct playing on record, powerful and impassioned but also displaying a rare sensitivity. On an excellent first side, the stop-start "A Fistful Of Jones" showcases Ochs' blistering tenor, his choked wails punctuated by visceral howls. Next up "Twelve Angry Jones" pitches locomotive bass and drums against measured sopranino saxophone sighs and ululations.
The excitement continues on the flip side, as "The Jones Who Knew Too Much" begins with a spacious colloquy of rattles, patter, mutters and cries, while "Three Jones Outside Ebbing, Missouri" lights a slow-burning fuse in which Dresser's increasingly animated arco and Ochs' vocalized tenor interjections jostle over Tarasov's distant rumble.
Picking the tracks for the vinyl must have been a tough call as the three digital-only numbers are of no less quality. Spare interplay characterizes "Night Of The Living Jones" which begins with as much silence as sound, while "The Jones Who Never Was" is the odd man out in its gradually accumulating momentum. Finally the gut-wrenching tenor shrieks of "Gone With The Jones" finish the program as it started, with tremendous music which transcends the geographical barriers.