AMN Reviews: Carlo Costa Quartet – Sediment (2014; Neither/Nor Records)

a3453866555_2Based on the lineup of Steve Swell on trombone, Jonathan Moritz on sax, and Sean Ali on bass, along with Carlo Costa on percussion, I was expecting a jazz album. An “outside” jazz album that was perhaps on the unconventional side, but jazz nonetheless. But what I heard upon first listen to Sediment was more along the lines of the textural experiments of Luigi Nono, early AMM, and Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.

Instead of laying down a groove, this quartet establishes an atmosphere. Almost ambient in its approach, the group juxtaposes minimalism and a busy scratching and droning of their respective instruments. The result is a quiet, but tense, set of six improvisations that are deceptively complex. Reflective of the title, the music is a solid material and moves about through natural processes.

As leader, Costa never dominates this recording, focusing on using the drums and cymbals to set a tone rather than drive a rhythm. The other members take similarly spacious approaches, bowing or blowing out discreet, angular motifs, or resting between notes. There are no leads or solos – Sediment is a true group effort.

Costa and group have hit a high water mark with this unconventional release. It takes courage to release an album such as this one, as well as skill to make such disjointed music so engaging and listenable.

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