Dice Factory – Dice Factory
(Babel BDV12110. CD Review by Chris Parker)
Although the composing credits for this, Dice Factory’s debut, eponymous album, are shared between pianist George Fogel, tenor saxophonist Tom Challenger and bassist Tom Farmer, the quartet’s sound and overall approach (they’re completed by ubiquitous drummer Jon Scott) are relatively consistent throughout the recording’s ten tracks.
Over an emphatic but pleasantly nervy rhythmic pattern (the Mancunian Scott among the jazz world’s most skilled contemporary providers of same, which is why he is involved in so many bands at present) Challenger and Fogel (and occasionally the rhythm section too) solo and interweave, Challenger with the mature, warm-toned, restless inventiveness that characterises his work with his own band Ma and the Loop Collective’s Outhouse, Fogel more overtly vigorous, his percussive insistence occasionally drawing on minimalism, but always firmly rooted in jazz improvisation.
The resultant music is thus imbued with the slightly pent-up, brooding energy associated with approaching thunderstorms, and, like them, frequently breaks out into crackling bursts of pyrotechnics, urged on by the whip-smart Scott. Like many contemporary bands, Dice Factory privilege tension and release and tricksy rhythmic energy over melody and straightforward fleetness, but as with, say, Phronesis, the reward is a highly effective fierce interactiveness that promises much from live performance.