Ike Levin / Joel Futterman / Tim DuRoche

March 9, 2020

Timeless Memories

Charles Lester Music JDF/CML 1002

Tri-city collaboration, Timeless Memories is 10 live improvisations by three veteran players who while isolated from large centres hold on to the chalice of unapologetic Free Jazz expression. There are points that their collective outpouring is so heightened that even the CD’s nearly 78½-minute length appears inadequate to restrain their collective invention. Virginia-based pianist Joel Futterman has recorded with Kidd Jordan and Alvin Fielder. Saxophonist/clarinetist Ike Levin resides in the Bay area and has performed with Von Freeman and Kash Killion. Percussionist Tim DuRoche is in Portland, Oregon and has played with Burton Greene and Wally Shoup.

Consisting of two live sets, the energetic trio starts from a concept of forceful vigor and accelerates from there. Deep and dark echoing piano dynamics are mixed with progressive narratives as development encompasses rough pumps from the drummer and building Trane-like cadences which smear as well as split from the saxophonist. A lot more than a power trio, the three quickly regroup into near baroque expressions which, especially in Futterman’s case, detour into low-pitched soundboard shudders and stopped key plinking. At mid-point, “After Time” marks a change, as Levin puts aside the top-of-range multiphonics that characterize most of his other outburst for a Gene Ammons-like bluesy reed echoes, joined by full-flavored piano glissandi and timed plops from DuRoche. This dynamic contrast between backbeat swing and freeform expression characterizes the rest of this first set, as Levin’s darkened bass clarinet flutters create a cultured counterpoint to Futterman’s sensitive chording. Not wanting to over-emphasize either faction, playful back-and-forth piano-clarinet jumps and judders define the sequence’s final release.

The second set which takes up the remaining four tracks, accelerates the descriptive parameters once again with the pianist turning an unaccompanied melody into a crescendo of galloping cascades and unexpected single note diversions, as Levin, on saxophone displays dour renal emphasis and clarion tongue stops. Torquing the narrative still further with angular wit from the piano keys and the saxophonist’s shaded snarls, leads to the giveaway titled “Irreversible Progression”. The track conclusively mixes the saxophonist’s overblowing glossolalia with the pianist rolling out a nearly limitless collection of key clanks and bent notes. All that left for the final “Stories of Our Mind” is for DuRoche’s patterning drum solo to signify that previously disparate tones have been smoothed downwards into semi calm.

The distinctive program created by this trio proves once again that you don’t have to go to major cities to see and hear first-rate improvisation.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1, Timeless Memories 2. Before Time 3. Vivid Memories 4. After Time 5. Through Time 6. Time Is 7. Future Memories 8. Once or Twice 9. Irreversible Progression 10. Stories of Our Mind

Personnel: Ike Levin (tenor saxophone and bass clarinet); Joel Futterman (piano) and Tim DuRoche (drums and percussion)