Abrams/Damon/Graham/Mendoza – Sometimes There Were Four


A recording from a concert given at the May Chapel in Chicago, IL on May 4, 2019. Just released though, amid covid times. This one is a real trip. 2 tracks, long form free jazz +. The first of the tracks clocking @ almost 30 minutes and wholly sweet. The interplay throughout by Boston’s own FORBES GRAHAM, and NYC’s AVA MENDOZA, on trumpet and electric guitar respectively, is rich and gnarly. When JOSHUA ABRAMS’ bass steps away from any time keeping and space creating responsibilities alongside TYLER DAMON (on percussion) things become perfectly knotty. Mendoza & Graham’s shared ability to slash between melodic playing and mind bending, extendo-technique-ing makes for a listening experience that is constantly edge of seat and a terrain of sound that is topographically exciting as hell. I don’t know how long (or if) this quartet got to play together before these recordings were made, but either way they sound as if they’ve know each other’s moves well.

It’s unhinged most of the way on the second track “Ready To Fall.” Mendoza’s guitar playing tearing into the soil. The whole affair regularly gets way outside of sounding anything like jazz at times, but never completely forgets. 10 minutes in I’ve forgotten everything I ever knew (not much to begin with of course). I find comfort in this controlled chaos. Mastered by Weasel Walter. Cover art is also by our trumpet wielding hero, “Untitled” by Forbes Graham.


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