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Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano - The Hated Music

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Artist: Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano

Album: The Hated Music

Label: Ecstatic Yod

Review date: Mar. 31, 2002

Listening to Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano gives me the sense that they are not the types of guys who would want me to mince words. So, awkwardly, I begin my review of the duo’s new record by saying the most important thing about it: The Hated Music is free improvisation. Not free improv with IDM textures or bop-style rhythmic propulsion. In fact, there is little evidence whatsoever of apology for the noisy and anarchic; just ecstatic, fiery free improv that recalls the most famously wild improvisers of the sixties and early seventies. The Hated Music often sounds like Pharoah Sanders, Peter Brötzmann, Beaver Harris and Rashied Ali throwing their instruments down flights of stairs. And, more than thirty years after the death of Albert Ayler, Flaherty and Corsano’s music is the most compelling evidence I’ve heard in some time that music like this still needs to be played.

Flaherty, a fascinating saxophonist whose impassioned overblowing and legato style recall Noah Howard and early-70s Joe McPhee, holds back just enough to keep The Hated Music from causing whiplash: he adds welcome bits of lyricism to “Hat City Fire Truck” and “In Walked Lowell”, and occasionally outlines chords in a manner similar to John Coltrane in his early-sixties “sheets of sound” period. Drummer Corsano’s playing is busy and aggressive, but also surprisingly sensitive, following Flaherty and directing traffic very successfully for a player in his mid-twenties.

On the six-minute explosion “Rut One," Flaherty and Corsano prove that they both have enough endurance to sustain blasts of high energy for long stretches if need be. But often they choose not to. They deftly shape their music - moving expertly among dynamic levels and giving each section enough time to develop — without diluting the tension established in their stormier moments.

Of course, plenty of jazz uses dynamics effectively. But with many on the post-free scene — Mat Maneri, for example — the quiet moments are so polite, they feel like tea breaks. I don’t mean to insult Maneri; his music is thought-provoking and often very affecting. But The Hated Music is a different kind of jazz from that played by the Thirsty Ear crowd: it’s far more visceral and incendiary. Flaherty and Corsano have captured the spirit of the wildest, most hectic, most flamboyant free improvisation without blowing themselves into monotony. The Hated Music is a raucous but well-crafted record that deserves to be heard.

By Charlie Wilmoth

Other Reviews of Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano

Steel Sleet & Last Eyes

The Beloved Music

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Find out more about Ecstatic Yod

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