Album review

Kris T Reeder – ‘Jazz Mix 12’

Kris T Reeder – Jazz Mix 12

(Bandcamp – EP review by Peter Slavid)

It’s most unusual to review a single track by a solo artist, but at 27 minutes long this could easily be described as an EP – or even a short album.

Kris T Reeder, sometimes known as KT Reeder is an improvising trombonist, sound artist and music producer from Oxford. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t come across his work before, but he was identified in the recent book on British Jazz by David Burke (Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz – 2021 reviewed here) as “one of 25 artists who have engineered the cultural transformation of British jazz over the past four decades”. Of the 25 named artists Reeder is the only one I haven’t come across before.

So, listening to this track in something of a vacuum, with no pre-knowledge of the artist or his music I discovered a fascinating mix of club beats, electronic sounds and improv.

Certainly Reeder is something of an outlier in jazz. He appears to be equally delighted when a small group of people love his work, and when others hate it – as long as they react!. He has in the past expressed the view that audiences are disruptive of the artist’s natural equilibrium and that recordings are more genuine because they reflect the biased musical voice of the performer.

Last year he published his Noise Trombone Manifesto which argues in favour of ignoring the technical and scientific aspects of trombone playing in favour of a more emotional and almost shamanistic approach.

Which brings us to the music itself. Although the track can be divided into sections it comes across as a coherent whole. It all starts with a series of electronic beeps over which Reeder creates and then improvises around a melody based around a few staccato notes. These notes will recur throughout the track. The trombone is often high-pitched and muted, a little reminiscent of the Miles Davis trumpet sound. Various electronic melodies and sounds appear, and the electronics add a bass drone which morphs into a persistent thumping bass line which the trombone eventually rejoins.

Another section has a more clubby electronic beat with the trombone again improvising around the now familiar group of notes. After that there’s a couple of minutes with some distorted electronic hissing. The final section is mainly a variable bass drone over a persistent drum rhythm which provides a hypnotic background behind the trombone improvisation.

This is a fascinating 27 minutes. Electronic bass tracks can often be rather dull, but here there’s a pleasing variety in the different bass lines which constantly shift between rumbling, pulsing, thumping or droning.

This is not a style of music I normally listen to, so I’ll apologise now if I’ve misrepresented it. However I am glad to have made the effort to listen to something a bit different. Maybe we should all do that a bit more often.

Peter Slavid broadcasts a programme of European Jazz on several internet stations including mixcloud.com/ukjazz

LINK: Jazz Mix 12 at Bandcamp

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