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O'Leary, Pasborg & Friis-Nielsen - Støj

Stuart Kremsky, Cadence Magazine

The latest releases by the invaluable Ayler Record label are part of their Guerilla Series, limited editions of just 400 copies, housed in mini single-disc jewel cases. The package might be minimalist, but the albums are full-length with no relaxation of production standards.

As peripatetic guitarist O’Leary tells it, he and drummer Pasborg ran into bassist Friis-Nielsen on a Copenhagen street corner, and the three decided to go to a studio immediately. They arrived “and literally plugged in and played no rehearsals, just systems go...” The trio gets right to it with “First Tune,” a joyous two-minute burst of go-for-broke free Jazz. Whether he’s chording with a quirky sense of progression (the delirious “Attitude”), shredding maniacally with a thick effects-laden sound on the title track or assuming a smoother approach for a quietly intense triologue on the lengthy “Odessa,” O’Leary is an utterly fearless improviser. His enthusiasm and willingness to let the music lead him where it wants to go make each of his outings a genuine adventure. With electric bassist Friis-Nielsen’s melodic throb and Pasborg’s attentive and explosive drumming as cohorts, the music flows, jerks, and sputters along. The interactions among the musicians is rarely as clear as imitation, opposition, or call-and-response. While they very occasionally offer something as straight-ahead as the opening section of “Exit,” with O’Leary in single-note mode and Friis-Nielsen supporting him in tempo, more often it feels like three distinct zones of sound that shouldn’t fit together but somehow do based on some elusive internal logic. Stoj proves to be a risk worth taking, resulting in viscerally exciting and durable free Jazz. So, yes, “I Fancy It When They Go a Bit Free,” and I suspect plenty of Cadence readers would agree.