John Escreet – Consequences
So the newest CD I’ve been listening to is John Escreet’s Consequences. It’s an eccentric, nearly indescribable, hour of music. The music is precise; each note is deliberate, every arrangement pointed, all instruments focused. The … consequence of this precision? Hmmm ….
Escreet has been a student of music from a young age. At age four, he began piano lessons, but also played the cornet, French horn and violin. By age ten, he was apparently improvinsing his own music. A decade and a half later, he’s played in London, toured the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. So, he’s got the skills. He’s left “normal” music behind and reached a higher plane of musical existence. Consequences is the product of that higher plane. Without doubt, this music is intelligent, hinting at themes I most likely missed completely.
The first three tracks, collectively titled “The Suite of Consequences,” is a private conversation betwixt the horns and the piano. Each takes a turn giving a soliliquy now and again. We’re allowed to listen in, knowing there’s something important to the dialogue, but not quite getting it. Or perhaps it’s more like a musical essay, contemplative and reflective. Yet, the three movements of “Consequences” seem to veer towards self-indulgence.
The same can be said of the other songs. All of them, save “No Doubt,” are Escreet’s own compositions and he seems to be indulging his inestimable talent, more interested in stringing and meshing together the stabbings of piano keys and blatting of horns than composing a song. It just seemed like a jumbled mess, tossed together just to be tossed together. And yet, it’s balanced and planned, too.
It’s a strangely compelling CD. The group explores scales and progressions in fabulous ways. It will take some time to fully absorb this material and distinguish the various influences and understand the improvisations. Really, I couldn’t say this record is either good or bad because I don’t really comprehend it. However, it is certainly worth exploring.
Joining Escreet on this recording is David Binney, alto sax and electronics (which are put to use in subtle ways on “Somewhere Between Dreaming and Sleeping”); Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet; Matt Brewer, double bass (he only rears his head audibly a few times, but it was cool); and Tyshawn Sorey on drums.
1. The Suite of Consequences
2. Wayne’s World
4. Somewhere Between Dreaming and Sleeping
5. No Doubt