Michael Bates: Great Exhibition
Michael Bates (bass)
Clockwise (Green Leaf Records GRE-1009)
Michael Bates (bass),
Russ Johnson (trumpet), Quinsin Nachoff (sax, clarinet), Jeff Davis (drums).
Composed by Michael Bates.
Recorded: New York, January 29, 2008
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Within the span of a typical pop tune, Bates & Co. do more in this song than many jazz recordings triple the length. This is chiefly because lead roles are stacked on top of each other instead of played in sequence, and are fluidly switched around. The first 20 seconds ride randomly up and down a scale, with Bates's bass pulsating at a faster rate than Johnson's muted horn, and Nachoff in turn playing more rapidly than Bates. The drummer seems to be the only one ignoring time. This exercise is repeated after an interlude featuring unison stuttered thwacks by Bates and Davis. Eventually the scalar runs lose their regimen as Nachoff, Bates and Johnson spar with Davis. Bates manages to keep time through this with Johnson sometimes joining in, sometimes rejoining the battle. Within the realm of organized chaos, "Great Exhibition" is just that, an excellent demonstration of a difficult conception.
Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron