The trio of Rachel Musson, Mark Sanders and Liam Noble only played together for the first time at the end of 2010, but already they’ve forged a thrilling group identity with a distinctly original take on freely improvised music.
Taken individually, these are three highly creative musical deep-thinkers. Musson is a saxophonist capable of switching from free-flowing lyricism to intense multiphonic skronk in the space of a heartbeat. Sanders is a hugely experienced and in-demand free-drummer who plays with an impeccable sense of internal swing. Noble is a pianist who brings a highly original, acerbic intellect to the piano, and who has more recently begun to explore the infinite possibilities of electronics. As a unit, they are making music that harks back to the earthy roots of free-jazz while simultaneously gazing outwards into galactic space.
The debut album Tatterdemalion finds the trio exploring multiple avenues for empathic interplay with an emphasis on texture and energy. Opening track, ‘May Be A Silken Thread’ begins with Sanders’ tentative skitter before a rumbling, cumulative groove emerges through Noble’s low-end bass keyboard lines, setting the scene for Musson to unleash precise yet braying multiphonics, like a calmly calculating Peter Brotzmann. On ‘Wheel’, Noble’s Moog-y squiggles and thick, ring-modulated stabs play chase-the-tail with Musson’s curling phrases while Sanders digs into raging pulse-time kit-work. And, on ‘The Blanket Feels Woolen,’ Noble’s weirdly twittering moonscapes, coupled with Sanders’ wafting cymbal clouds create an inquisitive cosmic drama Sun Ra would have been happy to put his name to – providing a sense of astral scale that gives Musson room enough to waft, weightless from one melodic urge to the next.
Tatterdemalion listed as an album of the year in Jan 2014 edition of New York City Jazz Journal
Tatterdemalion made it to Mark Corroto’s Best of 2013
The seven improvised pieces presented easily leave one temporarily blinded by their dynamism. Mark Corrotto, All About Jazz
This is vigorous, confident, restless, searching, extemporaneous music of a very high order. Kevin McNeilly, Frank Styles
Nothing short of a triumph. Stephen Graham, Marlbank
The album title refers to a tattered and demented Marvel Comics villain, but there’s nothing dishevelled about the work of the UK’s Rachel Musson – a skilful tenor saxophonist whose soundworld links Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall, Ingrid Laubrock and Pharoah Sanders. John Fordham, The Guardian