Daniel Rorke: Naked Allies review – Flare, dense interplay and moments of individual brilliance

Fri, Oct 4, 2019, 05:00


Naked Allies

Daniel Rorke/Oscar Noriega/Simon Jermyn/Matthew Jacobson

Orenda Records


Maybe too much is made of the contrast between the contemporary improv scenes on either side of the Atlantic, as there is plenty of human and musical traffic back and forth these days. But while creative musicians on the American east coast continue to mine that muscular post-bop seam of compositional structure and individual solo space, Europeans are more likely to explore local folk and traditional influences, channelling them into deliberately wrought, group concepts.

Irish-Australian saxophonist Daniel Rorke’s Naked Allies project is artfully poised between those two positions, mirroring the make-up of the group and his own development as a musician.

The sometime Dublin-based tenor player studied at Jazzlinja in Trondheim and soaked up some of that spacious Scandinavian aesthetic, but now based in New York, his Naked Allies certainly evinces the harmonic adventure and compositional depth of the Brooklyn scene.

The group includes two powerful voices of that scene, Snake Oil saxophonist Oscar Noriega and Dublin-born guitarist Simon Jermyn, along with ever creative Irish percussionist Matthew Jacobson.

There is compositional flare, there is dense group interplay, there are moments of individual brilliance, but above all, there is a collective preparedness to take chances and embrace the moment that characterises the best creative music on both sides of the Atlantic.