I have to admit I was reticent about this one at first. Daniel Rosenboom’s Astral Transference & Seven Dreams is billed as “blending the rhythmic counterpoint and morphing development of minimalism with the explosive freedom of creative improvisation, and the dynamic interplay of jazz with the timbral range of contemporary classical chamber music, Astral Transference & Seven Dreams are swirling, psychedelic and totally immersive sonic experiences”.
The double album features “Astral Transference”, a 31 minute piece for jazz octet that combines “minimalist” concepts with elements of free jazz and electronic dance music, in an epic, morphing journey of groove, and “Seven Dreams”, a seven movement work for quintet (trumpet, cello, piano, bass, drums) based on a poem by the same title also by Rosenboom (see below), which is inspired by and dedicated in gratitude to Rosenboom’s first trumpet teacher, legendary avant-garde jazz musician, Wadada Leo Smith.
The double album features Rosenboom on trumpet, Artyom Manukyan on cello and FX, Joshua White on piano, Richard Giddens on bass, Gene Coye on drums, Gavin Templeton on alto saxophone (Disc 1 – Astral Transference), Jon Armstrong on tenor saxophone (Disc 1 – Astral Transference) and Alexander Noice on electric guitar and FX (Disc 1 – Astral Transference).
To be frank, the only reason I checked out this album was the presence of Joshua White. For those unfamiliar with White, he was the runner-up in the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. “Joshua has immense talent,” Herbie Hancock said. “I was impressed by his daring and courageous approach to improvisation on the cutting edge of innovation. He is his own man. I believe that Thelonious Monk would have been proud of the performance of this great young artist…”
I knew White’s work wasn’t necessarily within reach of all so I expected the same from this album. Although Astral Transference & Seven Dreams is geared towards more seasoned jazz aficionados, I was nonetheless surprised by its accessibility. The album features much “freer” jazz than what I am accustomed to, but does so in such an interesting, purposeful and genuine manner that I was pleasantly pleased by the overall listening experience. Sure, the album features intense climaxes but it never reaches the frenzied, cacophonous and noisy debacles favored by some other free jazz musicians to my utmost discontent.
I thoroughly enjoyed this satisfying album with all its intricacies, textures and diverse nuances and I will be listening to it several times over. I strongly recommend it to those in search of a more intellectual and intricate sound without ever being pompous, arrogant or condescending. Check out the complete Astral Transference & Seven Dreams performance by Rosenboom and company live at Blue Whale below and judge for yourself as well as Rosenboom’s “Seven Dreams” poem.
by Daniel Rosenboom
I dreamed I burst into the infinite
And in that first breath of life
Tasted vital ecstasy!
I bathed in rays of brilliant light
And reveled in the thrill of virtue,
And howling through the vast expanse
Proclaimed elated purpose!
I dreamed I was an ancient tree
And generations passed beneath my leaves.
At first I learned the many faces
But as time began to blur
All the people became like water
A nameless river through the years
Rarely resting in the afternoon shade.
I dreamed I was a winged insect
In flight for nearly all my life.
Cutting sharply in and out of corners
Whipping wild and past the wind,
And in the fleeting hours of my swift existence
I saw the world’s most micro cosmos
In colors you may never see.
I dreamed I drank the tears of Venus
As she wept for broken hearts.
Her pity flowed from a glowing pinpoint
That dangled over lovers’ eyes.
And all the while she only wished
They’d turn their eyes toward the sky
And remember she was there.
I dreamed I was a mad volcano
Throwing fire at the sky.
I emptied out my glowing soul
To raise the rocks of continents
And render forth the Earth.
And with a torch of searing tempest
Forged the path to Heaven.
I dreamed I chatted with the moon by starlight,
And she told me all her stories.
But through the eons what she longed for most
Was to feel the feet of children
Imprinting on her chalky face,
And to hear their laughter
Break the silence of her midnight.
I dreamed I was an alien
Dancing on the rings of Saturn
The heavens showered diamonds,
Painted blazing strokes across the void.
And on the wings of solar wind
I could smell the dust of bursting stars…
… it smelled like love.
I dreamed these seven dreams
Before I was a memory,
And after I was inspiration,
Somewhere in the nothingness
Where all the stones and flower petals,
All fantasies and sacred visions,
Were nothing but a whisper.
Sébastien Hélary co-founded Nextbop in 2009 with the objective of introducing modern jazz music to a younger generation of fans. Aside from music, his other main obsession is food and he is the proud chef and co-owner of a little restaurant in Brittany, France.