You wouldn’t guess this from just hearing the tracks, but this is a Cheese Themed Jazz Album. Not cheese in the sense of “badly done” or “campy,” but in the sense of a semi-solid fermented dairy product first developed in the Middle East. With musicians from Iran, Pakistan and Morocco, you might expect something exotic, and the sound offered here is a layered complex (or complex layering) of rhythms, odd noises, and broken time signatures. Song titles provoke, and “When the Curd Meets the Rennet,” “Whey It Out,” and “It Shall Ripen” offer strong smells and strong compositions. A sense of foreboding infuses one track, blatant electrical distortion another, and Art Blakey haunts the rest.
Not as smooth as the works of Stan Getz, but beyond Thelonious Monk’s early compositions, this group taunts us with shattered shards of melodies, partially reassembled with Elmer’s Glue and duct tape. Perhaps they make this up as a jam, perhaps it’s notated out in 64th notes, but its soul lies somewhere over the middle Atlantic, just about 28 degrees north on a line connecting two societies at odds, but potentially united in music.
Axis Trio: www.axistrio.com