Jason Rigby

Translucent Space

FSNT 254

Proximo; Turquoise Turkish; Southampton UK; Atmospheric; 114; Backandforthedness; Green Of Greens; Mumbai; Christopher

Rich Johnson (t); Jason Rigby (ss,as,ts,bcl, wood f); Sam Sadigursky, Jason Gillenwater (cl), Soo-Kyung Park (f), Mike Holober (p), Lauren Riley (clo), Cameron Brown (b), Mark Ferber (d, perc). 6/05

"A translucent space suggests feelings and moods and influences perspective rather than giving clear definitions." If that sounds like a rationale for ambient or mood music, the reality of Rigby's debut is much more clear-cut and the execution far more interesting. The perspectives being influenced have a strong retro feel. The two opening tracks are 70's fusion and bebop respectively, but both done with a lightness and sureness of touch that dismisses any hint of pastiche. It doesn't stop there. "Southampton UK" might almost be Karl Jenkins-era Soft Machine, with Rigby on bass clarinet over another funky Fender Rhodes accompaniment from Holober. And yet there is nothing haphazard about the conception. I'd go so far as to say that Translucent Space is the freshest and most individual jazz album of the year so far; it lets light through but in such a way that the antecedents and influences are sensed diffusely rather than clearly seen.

Like a lot of showcase records, it possibly tries to do too much in a short space. "114" is free jazz, the saxophonists trading staccato lines wih Johnson's muted trumpet. "Mumbai" is an excursion for wood flute, but done with such virtuosity that one doesn't long suspect him of including it to show off another horn. In fact, it underlines the growing impression that Rigby resembles no

one more clearly that Dewey Redman, not because he likes to introduce the odd ethnic flourish, but because his real skill is to bring order to the widest spectrum of styles and a kind of normative logic to even the most way-out idea, the way Dewey used to do wih Ornette's erratic harmonics.

The interest in this music lies more in the music itself than in the leader's playing. Though he can swing out wit the deftest of them, Rigby sounds most assured when the pace is measured and the metre dead-centre.There's no marked diffeernce in his playing on each of the saxophones which tends to suggest that he treats them as areas on a harmonic and timbral spectrum rather than distinct horns. Only on the long "Backandforthedness" does he start to sound discursive; it's the closest to a bland blowing theme that the record comes. It's also the most conventional configuration of horn-and-rhythm. Elsewhere, Rigby is happy to lead with keyboard, bass, or even percussion. Ferber's into on "Southampton UK" is immediately arresting. Sounds at one point like he's jitting suspension coils or bed springs. Elsewhere his metres are elastic and resonant. Brown is a veteran, and his opening statement on "Atmospheric" is remarkable, something mid-way between Jimmy Garrison and Charlie Haden. The cello and woodwinds are sparingly deployed, but the dissonant chords on "Proximo" are enough to tell you that this isn't going to be the short-course excursion a deceptively lightweight theme might be suggesting. Much to ponder and very definitely a guy to watch out for. Sightings of Rigby as a sideman - with Dave Liebman, Tony Malaby and Tim Horner - have been quietly impressive. This, though, pushes the Cleveland man straight into the spotlight. I have a hunch he won't fluff.