Hard WorkFREE WORK BAND at the Cameron, April 23. Tickets: $5. Attendance: 15. Rating: NNN
there were only a handful of
people at the Cameron House's final Club Abstract improvisational music night Monday, but Free Work Band leader Gordon Allen wasn't deterred.
Before his quartet's 40-minute set, the Toronto trumpeter in the dark shades leaned toward bassist Brandi Disterheft and offered some subtle instructions. "We'll just start improvising and see what happens," Allen nodded before percussionist Jaime Carrasco began clanking out a beat on his hi-hat stand.
The Free Work Band's take on free jazz is not your standard, full-throttle battle. With a repertoire split neatly between compositions and spontaneous playing, Allen rarely lets his group slip out of control.
Monday's set was even more restrained, thanks to the players who showed up. Carrasco was joined by a second drummer, Joe Sorbara, and the two created a rumble of rhythm behind Allen's soaring horn lines. The twin percussionists kept the playing in check and also created a rhythmic thump for Disterheft's loping, almost funky bass lines.
It didn't all work. When they were moving forward, the Free Work Band's improvisations were seamless and inspired, but slow things down and out came the clown horn. When very little is planned, though, an 80 per cent success rate is nothing to scoff at.
The Free Work Band, in an entirely different configuration, return to the Cameron Wednesday (May 2).