About the Music
Text by Simon Felicé
If time moves at all, it is surely not in a straight line. Rather, its passage seems cyclical; transporting us out towards the unknown before arching back to familiar territory. Its orbit is as rambling as it is relentless. Often our recognition of revisited territory goes un-remarked; no more than a quick fly-by (nothing new here). At other times our attention lingers as revisited territory looks somehow fresh and new. Currently, free jazz finds itself the subject of this latter phenomenon.
This apparent make-over of free jazz is often mistakenly thought to be the result of changes in the style itself. Instead, it is the social milieu in which the music now finds itself that has changed. And while it may seem that free jazz has only recently awoken from a protracted sonic hibernation, it has in fact been wide awake since alarm bells opened its eyes for the first time in the 1960s. What is it about our current time that makes free jazz look refreshed?
We live in a time where progressive politics are in retreat and where the social gains of the last half-century are steadily being unravelled. Even worse, we find ourselves the subjects of a home-grown fundamentalism — this time of the market.
Yet, in free jazz we encounter a music that has successfully resisted commodification. We hear a music that stands radically for the social, and which seeks to speak a truth unaffected by fashion or self interest. We confront a music whose sound remains raw, primal, urgent, ecstatic and, most of all, spontaneous. In the social realm these qualities have acted, time and time again, as the touchstone of cultural renewal and regeneration. It is the desire for a return to these qualities in public life that gives their manifestation in free jazz added significance and draws our attention to the music once more. What we hear this time around we like.
The music of Kris Wanders captures the best of contemporary free jazz in bold and brilliant form. So take a second look at where time’s rambling orbit has brought us and ponder for a while the fresh appearance of this exceptional style. Plunge headlong into it, get lost in it, and most of all, enjoy Kris' music.