Thursday, July 21, 2022

SOME NEW(ISH) MUSIC: Antonio Sanchez - Three Times Three

Hey, I should make some kind of effort to hear some new music. I'm in danger of being a total dinosaur, only listening to decades-old music, and not knowing anything happening this century, let alone decade. Let's make this a new regular feature— I'll listen to something new, and give some thoughts on it. There's no excuse not to, with Spotify generously enriching themselves by forcibly demonetizing all the music in the world so it's free to everyone. 

I put on Antonio Sanchez's Spotify channel, looking for something to be annoyed by— that's my attitude going into any new record, my peculiar attitude problem. Three Times Three, released in 2015, features three different trios: Sanchez plus Brad Mehldau and Matt Brewer, Joe Lovano and John Patitucci, John Scofield and Christian McBride.

It's great. Of course it's great. The tunes are all great, the performances are great. It's almost a throwback— other than Sanchez and Brewer, these players all came into prominence in the 80s/early 90s, and you can hear the depth, they're in a comfortable modern bag, that's very heavy. Everybody's playing with a lot of power. 

Watching Sanchez can feel like watching drum corps, but I can't argue with what he's actually doing— this is all foundationally solid. What I'm hearing is, he is an incredibly skilled performer who has taken a lot of cool things I like and ruthlessly perfected them. It's just a taste thing of mine that I don't like listening to ruthless perfection— when I sense that, it puts me at a distance.  

There are some percussive things happening that read like special effects— which I'm not sure how to process. With any instrument you've got the primary thing it does, the normal sounds it makes while doing its role; when you get into a lot of things that are anomalous that, without developing them... I don't know what it is. We could be expanding the sonic possibilities of the drum set, or we could just be getting into vaudeville, with the bulb horns, Acme sirens and whatnot, I'm not sure.     

I like this record a lot. There are some times when I would like a break from the finer subdivisions and total obvious mastery. I start feeling twitchy, like I've been hitting a practice pad for a couple of hours. I can't enjoy the few spaces there are, because I've been set up to read them as further expressions of somebody's genius.  

1 comment:

Michael Griener said...

I know it sounds unfair, but it always reminds me of watching the trapeze artists in the circus when I was a kid.
It left me completely cold what they were doing up there under the circus roof.
It looked totally easy (although of course it was incredibly difficult) what they were doing, and it only became exciting for me when I felt that they weren't quite in control of it, or that it might go wrong.
And somehow I still feel that way when I listen to music.
I immediately forget (or don't even realize) how hard it is, but most of the time it leaves me completely unaffected when I feel like nothing can go wrong; everything is rehearsed and ready to be presented.
Of course, this is totally childish and unfair to the poor musicians who worked so hard for it, but unfortunately I can't help it.
That's probably one of the reasons I prefer listening to Elvin, whose fours sometimes just take a little longer, or Paul Motian, with whom you always compassionately hope that everything works out as planned.
With Mr. Sanchez, unfortunately, I haven't felt that so far.
But that's just my personal problem.