Michaël Attias Quartet – Nerve Dance album review: In the fuzzy space

Nerve Dance
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Artist: Michael Attias Quartet
Genre: Jazz
Label: Cleanfeed

The old division between "free" and structured music takes a battering on Michaël Attias's sixth release as leader. The New York alto saxophonist's compositions may evince detailed harmonic and rhythmic structures, with clearly "intended" consequences, but they are first and foremost a set of instructions for setting his talented quartet free. Pianist Aruán Ortiz, bassist John Hébert and particularly drummer Nasheet Waits – masters of the fuzzy space where intention meets spontaneity – respond in kind, conjuring gnarly, serpentine grooves and headlong forward momentum without much that you could regard as a regular pulse. It takes skill – and nerve – to pull that off, and there is plenty of both on display here.

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Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director