A rare new interpretation of avant-garde composer Krzysztof Penderecki´s ‘Actions For Free Jazz Orchestra’, commissioned by Poland’s Sacrum Profanum festival in 2018 and performed by Mats Gustafsson and a drastically altered iteration of Fire! Orchestra. Actions is longer than Penderecki’s original score and takes liberties with it, injecting fresh perspective into a classic.
Vinyl LP £18.99 RLP3212
LP on Rune Grammofon.
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- Actions by Fire! Orchestra
Fire! Orchestra and the Fire! from which they spawned, are disciplined. In the past their compositions have been built on a patient and methodical bass lines that never waver. You could build cities on those bass lines. And that discipline means that when saxophonist Mats Gustafsson goes off on one, as he is wont to do, the song stands strong.
‘Actions’ is a very different beast to this discography, particularly as it's the orchestra’s first without its two vocalists. No doubt it still requires more discipline than I'll ever have, but in interpreting Krzysztof Penderecki’s ‘Actions For Free Jazz Orchestra’, Fire! Orchestra have created something much more liminal. You can see snippets of Gustafsson’s version of the score on the cover to give you a sense of what’s driving this thing.
More than anything ‘Actions’ reminds me of Karkhana’s wonderful ‘Bitter Balls’. It’s another heap of lumbering, improbable jazz. They’re both completely disinterested in making things easy, taking a flexible approach to dynamics and instrumentation. Fire! Orchestra start slowly, a few carefully placed plucks of a double bass. And then, free jazz bedlam. If a whole bunch of brass instruments whirring around each other like flies doesn’t already appeal to you then ‘Actions’ is unlikely to convert you, but for those who can bear it, it’s a very worthwhile listen.
They find the occasional groove, moody and morose like the best Fire! Jams, but even these tend to be platforms for something more abstract; be it some frenetic drumming or laboured sax squalls. But it’s those moments where the group are all together that ‘Actions’ becomes sublime.
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