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Matt Bauder / Jason Ajemian - Object 3

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Artist: Matt Bauder / Jason Ajemian

Album: Object 3

Label: Locust

Review date: Nov. 12, 2003

Sometimes the simplest musical ideas can be the hardest to execute. In the case of Object 3, the idea is one 31-minute duet between tenor saxophonist Matt Bauder and bassist Jason Ajemian. The track in question, entitled “Normal”, is an example of an idea conceived and completed almost perfectly. Like other titles in Locust Music’s Object series, this CD features two of the younger members of Chicago’s improvising community. Object 3 is an exercise in restraint and patience, as Bauder and Ajemian work carefully and softly by extending notes out at initially low volumes and tones. Each musician supports and broadens the other’s efforts with incredible deftness and patience. By no means is either interested in one-upping the other. Rather, the melodic lines slowly sway across the bottom registers and the listener is allowed to appreciate the controlled movements of air through the horn and a bow across strings.

And as the performance advances, carefully overdubbed layers add a subtle touch of complexity without overwhelming the melody and development of the piece. “Normal’s” overall impression is of the ideal collaboration between Morton Feldman and Jimmy Guiffre – the intersection of the long form composition and jazz’s improvisational technique. As such, it certainly stands apart from a lot of current improv. And it offers excellent value for the listener. More than a few musicians could (and should) take a lesson from Bauder and Ajemian’s economies of scale.

By Bruce Adams

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