Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut - Allemansratten

Richard Moule, Signal To Noise

This idea of an interdependent sound, of a collective unified voice, is also at the heart of improvising guitarist Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut's Allemansratten ("All of man's right to freedom"). Shurdut, whose c.v. includes work with Joe McPhee, Marshall Allen and Daniel Carter, has originated his own system of "Action Playing", placing equal value on rhythm and harmony, without emphasis on time or melody. If "Declaration of Interdependence" is reminiscent of John Coltrane's Ascention, then the four-part "Allemansatten" is closer to the scalding intensity of Peter Brotzmann's Machine Gun. While Shurdut's quintet of Blaise Siwula (alto), Nick Gianni (soprano, tenor, flute and mandolin), Mike Fortune (percussion) and Ras Moshe (alto) may be only a third the size of Swell's orchestra, what it lacks in numbers, it makes up for in scale of sound. It starts off with some ragged, off-kilter hard bop funk, but soon takes off into more open territory, the front line of saxes unleashing an astringent barrage of sound and from there, the quintet maintains a ferocious pace. The second track, "Allemansratten: Picking Wild Flowers" affords a brief respite, featuring Gianni's flute, but even here the players remain restless, apparently unaffected by the exhausting tempo they have set for themselves. Itching to get back to fray, they waste no time and then it's back to the incendiary, gospelized wails and howls. While this recording captures the raw immediacy of a live setting, a little more post-production equalization and a separation of sound wouldn't have hurt here.

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