'The Land Outside' is the new recording from the acoustic trio of Mahlon Hoard, Tyson Rogers, and Rick Lassiter. This trio brings together years of collective improvisation experience; from Hoard and Lassiter's earlier work with the Micro East Collective, to the Tyson Rogers Quartet where Roger's compositions were explored by these same musicians plus drums, to Hoard's own various incarnations of his improvistional and composed music groups, and even to Roger's and Lassiter's contribution to musician/producer Chris Stamey's 'Experience'. Certainly, the chemistry and aural entrainment exhibited on this session is testament not only to the individual improvisational skill of the musicians, but also to the intimate musical understanding that years of playing together brings. Hoard begins the opening tune, 'Falling Arch', with a solemn invocation on his tenor. Warmth and air are palpable in his tone. Soon the deep bass joins and establishes an angular ostinato figure upon which Hoard and Rogers begin the journey of exploration into the wide open extended modern harmonies and ancient folk-like melodies that permeate the whole record. The title of the second song, 'Tone on One', is telling of the sole compositional restraint placed on the piece. 'Start on the downbeat of the first measure'. 'Gold and Russet' is a study in sensitivity and space with the soprano sax, bass and piano exploring and weaving independent lines throughout. 'Permafrost' begins by evoking the sparse Arctic sound one might expect from an ECM recording - but then plunges even deeper into darker depths with arco bass harmonics and soprano multiphonics entwining and building into a primal scream. Subsequent songs find the trio continuing the haunting cinematic exploration of melody, tonality, and atonality. The last track on the CD, the title track, begins with Lassiter's bowed bass. The seven note theme functions similarly to Hoard's opening tenor invocation, giving the other two musicians a thread on which to begin their improvisation - but this time with Rogers pulling earthy scrapes and percussive drones from the interior of the grand piano. Sonically, this recording renders the sound of each instrument with remarkable clarity, depth, and detail. Audiophiles will appreciate the wide, airy, and natural soundstage captured here which allows the for the intimacy of an acoustic trio. 'The Land Outside' is almost more an exploration of the land inside - the interior of the minds of three improvisors not afraid to embrace the silence, space, and uncharted regions of modern improvisation. Mahlon Hoard - saxophones Tyson Rogers - piano Rick Lassiter - bass Recorded at Circle Sound in Raleigh, NC.
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