Bobby Avey, Authority Melts From Me, Whirlwind Recordings **** Recommended
Avey wrote a suite for quintet featured here grounded in rhythms found in the Haitian voodoo drumming he encountered in 2012. Recorded in New York later the same year Authority Melts From Me features the Monk composition prize-winning pianist who grew up in the Poconos in north eastern Pennsylvania plus alto saxophone heavyweight Miguel Zenón, guitarist Ben Monder, double bassist Thomson Kneeland, and drummer Jordan Perlson (the latter pair appeared on Avey’s 2010 album A New Face along with Avey mentor Dave Liebman).
It’s an absorbing quite superb listen, the suite inspired by Haiti’s 1791 slave revolt at its core. Unusual in its point of entry, MBASE-like episodes on ‘Kalfou’ place the listener at the hub of radiating spokes of rhythm and a solemn Iyer-esque tonality. The long third section ‘Louverture’ is where the piece gains incremental development Zenón subtle and expressive, almost like a sorrowful narrator, Avey’s method adopting a strong story telling dimension however abstract the music becomes in its tonality, his pianism a pensive presence. The suite’s other significant piece is ‘Cost’ at the end, delivered after a short drum interlude, and where the melodic thematic aspect of the work manifests itself. A significant achievement. Stephen Graham