A Time And A Place
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Label: Woolgathering Records
Celebrated tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi presents his latest release, A Time and A Place, the impassioned follow-up to his 2016 self-titled album with his quartet of esteemed Chicago-based musicians, Natural Language. The release embodies the unbridled invention and cohesiveness that are such large components of this quartet’s sound. Alongside Laurenzi, Jeff Swanson provides harmonic accompaniment and support on guitar, while bassist Mike Harmon and drummer Charles Rumback make up the groups steadfast rhythm section.
A Time and a Place was recorded at John Abbey’s Kingsize Sound Labs in Chicago on June 27, 2019. The recording is a stunning document of what was, at the time, a fresh set of material for the ensemble, which lends to the fresh, exciting atmosphere captured on the tracks. As noted in the album’s liner notes, “Natural Language plays in a way that blurs together varied musical vernaculars, with a pulse that is fluid and rubato. Melodies playfully flow between composed and improvised, with moods shifting from serene to stormy, meditative to mischievous. The sounds of this record are deeply tied to the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of their creation and development. A snapshot of Chicago, pre-pandemic, through Laurenzi’s abstract lens.”
The album begins with “Mantra”, a song which the band has been playing for several years and is now dubbed as a Natural Language “standard”. The track begins with an ostinato guitar-bass pattern and eventually unfolds into a complex composite of shifting harmonic and rhythmic cycles which the bandleader improvises in, over and around. The second track, “Albert”, was written with the great saxophonist Albert Ayler in mind. Laurenzi notes “I have learned a lot about music from listening to Albert Ayler… I wanted to try to capture some of the energy I felt from his music and let it come out through Jeff, Mike, Charles, and me. The end of the track is a nod to the bugle call melodies on Ayler’s album Love Cry.
“Ridgeway” is a resplendent piece focusing on a rich melody. Laurenzi notes, “Thinking about some of my favorite jazz composers (Monk, Motian, Coleman etc), melody tends to be at the forefront, they’ve clearly considered what’s really important in their music. It’s like they’re dealing with really high quality raw materials and using them with reverence.” This track in particular captures this notion, particularly towards the end of the melody when the guitar and saxophone are doubled. The piece features transcendent solos by Harmon and Swanson.
Speaking to the deep, soulful interplay on this album, “Blocks” sees the ensemble playing as one, in an almost unprecedented fashion. Built on the concept of Coltrane changes, the piece traverses through a dense harmonic landscape in rubato. The group moves together with ease, like one organism. The composer floats above the harmonic complexity with finesse, showcasing his immense acuity for melodic invention.
The release concludes with “Slate”. Named after a DIY art space in Chicago, the piece is built around a drone and a long, rubato bass/guitar unison line. The piece beautifully explores stark density changes and features an awe-inspiring improvisational flight from Laurenzi as well as textural musings from guitarist Jeff Swanson. A Time and a Place ends on a gorgeously ethereal note, with rubato and metric modulation as well as textural and density exploration, the album challenges the notion of what time and place may mean within a musical context.
LA HABITACIÓN DEL JAZZ
"Todos ellos, junto a Laurenzi, nos brindan unas melodías sugerentes, llenas de emoción que nos inducen a meditar." Para leer este articulo presione aquí.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"This is patient and also indefatigable music. Laurenzi is in no rush to find the end of a song." Read this review here.
"If the mission of Laurenzi's Natural Language is to provide a tribute to the sounds of the masters – be it Coltrane, Ayler, or whoever – A Time and a Place is a rousing success and a deeply inspirational piece of work." Read this review here.
"Blocks, premiering here, speaks to the group’s profound, soulful interplay and is built on the concept of Coltrane changes." Watch premiere here.
THE VINYL DISTRICT
"There is much to love as Laurenzi, guitarist Jeff Swanson, bassist Mike Harmon, and drummer Charles Rumback blend highly advanced post-Modern jazz and avant-garde modes to a highly pleasurable result." Read full article here.
MAKING A SCENE
"Tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi’s A Time and A Place, follows-up his 2016 self-titled album with his quartet of Chicago-based musicians, Natural Language, intact. Their sound embodies unbridled invention and cohesiveness that creates moods and textures in favor of aggressive soloing although there is some of that too, mostly from the leader." Read full review here.
CHICAGO JAZZ MAGAZINE
"The brilliant and multilayered A Time and a Place marks a natural progression in Laurenzi’s artistic growth. It is inextricably part of his overall work, yet also refreshingly novel and inventive. It is an album that can be simultaneously enjoyed on its own merits and equally appreciated as part of Laurenzi’s overall creative continuum." Read full review here.