Tim Daisy

October Music Vol. 1
Relay Recordings 009

Aural scrap book, calling card and historical document wrapped together, this CD highlights the improvisational and compositional strategies drummer Tim Daisy has evolved during his years as part of Chicago’s burgeoning improvisational scene. Each of the lucky seven duets here is with a different associate – reedists Rempis (baritone saxophone), James Falzone (clarinet) and Katherine Young (bassoon); cornetist Josh Berman, violist Jen Clare Paulson plus Jason Adasiewicz on vibraphone and drummer Marc Riordan playing piano – and follows a unique pattern.

Despite the multiplicity of pitches and textures every track shows off not only Daisy’s sympathetic percussiveness on drums, but also how he’s equally capable of lyrical affirmation when playing marimba. Like two Cubist canvases that stand out in an art gallery filled with the work of Impressionists, the cornetist and pianist feature on the most atypical tracks. “Writers” is unusual since it’s the most Jazz-like of the sequences, with Riordan unsurprisingly showing himself as a pianist with a percussive touch. His keyboard feints, flashes and sprints that appear as if they’re about to transform into a Thelonious Monk line don’t faze the drummer however. Daisy’s dynamic responses are fully in the modern Jazz tradition. Like a trip to another part of the art gallery though, his rolls and rebounds on “Painted”, during the Berman duo lean towards the pre-Modern tradition in order to correctly coordinate with the other’s playing. Berman’s bugle-like blasts and brassy smears aren’t stereotypically old-timey though, since they also include reed-like elasticity. In acknowledging this anomaly though, the contributions from each player never grate. Daisy’s partnerships with Rempis and Adasiewicz are also proven qualities. Rugged Free Music oriented cross pluses plus staccato rhythmic emphasis keeps their duo linear as the saxophonist’s thick lines encompass glossolalia and melisma. Meanwhile the vibist’s warm limpid, multi-mallet attack encourages pumping and patterning from the drummer.

Otherwise given over to Falzone’s flutter-tongued glissandi, “For Jay” has its color field splattered with woody painterly clanks from Daisy’s marimba, encouraging the clarinetist to loosen up, exposing obtuse color forms which mix with an undercurrent of radio-sourced noise. These mechanical found sounds are also put to good use to subvert the rusticity of “Some Birds”, propelled by distinctive nasal sniffles from Katherine Young’s bassoon. As Daisy’s staccato marimba patterns add liveliness to the improvisation, so truncated radio noises signal the ending, Jen Clare Paulson’s near-romantic and pastoral viola exposition is likewise subverted with hard wooden-bar pops from the marimba on “Near a Pond”. When the tensile fiddle line slips into a Balkan-suggesting air though, Daisy’s coordinated response strips the theme of sentimentality.

Living up to what it promises in its subtitle, one wonder what surprises await on Daisy’s next CD of October Music.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. For Jay 2. Roscoe St. 3. Some Birds 4. Writers 4. Near A Pond 5. For Lowell 6. Painted

Personnel: Tim Daisy (drums, marimba, radio) plus James Falzone (clarinet [track 1]); Dave Rempis (baritone saxophone [track 2]); Katherine Young (bassoon [track 3]); Marc Riordan (piano [track 4]); Jen Clare Paulson (viola [track 5]); Jason Adasiewicz (vibraphone [track 6]); Josh Berman (cornet [track 7])