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Alexandra Grimal - Andromeda

Andrew Nosnitsky, The Wire

Andromeda is French saxophonist Alexandra Grimal's response to viewing constellations of stars over MacDowell Colony, a retreat in New Hampshire open to artists looking for creative space to work and think. And Grimal's music is crammed full of busy silence and spacious structures. The two brief opening compositions, "Little Step" and "Orion", come out of Webern or Feldman more than any of the usual jazz sources, Todd Neufeld's guitar leaving barely-there figurations to float in deep space, Thomas Morgan's bass and percussionist Tyshawn Sorey adding as little as they can. The extended "Cassiopée" and "Algieba" move in stately fashion from austere beginnings to earthbound improvisational structures; then "Andromeda" works back towards black holes and nothingness. Improvising no sound the final frontier?