What makes this disc (Think Shadow) so wonderful and distinct is that it is both adventurous and sublime at the same time and that is a rare treat.
The works are not meant to be compositionally indulgent, instead acting as solid functional cookware on which Attias and Malaby prepare succulent dishes. The results are dense which makes the songs seem longer than they actually are-the set fit seven tunes into an hour where most bands of this ilk would play four or five.
Bassist Sean Conly wrote the music of Re:Action “to let people play the way they play”, yet this quartet – which includes a two-forward saxophone section consisting of Tony Malaby and Michael Attias plus Pheeroan Aklaff on drums – is tightly self-disciplined and performs with composed fire, so to speak. The result is an excellent album, in which no trace of lackadaisical indetermination is found, a persuasive interpretation of tunes that sound exuberantly enthusiastic, calmly scowling, intelligently disengaged from the normalcy of jazz formulas.
His playing seems to take in all these influences, whether in lengthy solos like the expressive feature on “Something I Said?” or his tendency to play with pulse seemingly every measure. It’s the jittery latter quality that shapes Re:Action, at least in its most interesting moments. Along with saxophonists Tony Malaby and Michael Attias, and drummer Pheeroan AkLaff, the bassist pens a number of tunes that wend between impressive textural moments and intense, often melancholy expressionism.
Their Freedom can be delicate and meditative or jarring, but one mustn’t let the company Conly keeps on this date overshadow his composing, which is interesting and can only strengthen with time.
Sean Conly has a pizzicato so thick you could climb it.
Sean Conly brings to his work on double bass a rhythmic suppleness and a harmonic awareness that complement (and stimulate) the front-line soloists.
The sense of rhythm and pacing conveyed by bassist Sean Conly and drummer Alvester Garnett is exceptionally vivid.
Bassist Sean Conly is an extraordinarily busy player, perhaps somewhat of a yeoman- he’s worked with figures diverse as the violinists Sam Bardfeld and Regina Carter. But if he has a particular mettle, it might just be in the unruly, driving and highly plastic music of this ensemble.
For all of their shared Virtuosity, bassist Sean Conly and saxophonist Michael Attias place a high premium on sound and intuition. On their Stunning new album Think Shadow the pair reaffirms the limitless possibilities of the duo format with a set of improvised originals that strike the perfect balance between seeming completeness and never ending surprise.
I swear to you, O people of Amazonia, that there are few more important labels in the area of free jazz and creative improv musics than that of Clean Feed. This CD is typical of the quality the label puts out. Sean Conly is a New York based bassist and composer of whom I knew nothing. All is has done is lead a session that is one of the most solid and satisfying CDs of this year.
By focusing on the correct development of a composition’s backbone more than shedding light on personal capacities, Conly combines the components of a discriminating musicianship in diversified contexts. He’s entirely at ease inside odd-metered involvement (“Loose Screws”) or in serene discreetness (“Undertow”), his quiet power perceptible throughout the set.
The music is filled with dozens of different experimental and traditional ways of playing, is played very expressively and with passion – that brings us remarkable and impressive sound of whole album.