Award winning saxophonist Ed Jones and young drummer Emil Karlsen have released ‘From Where Light Falls’ on FMR records. 8 tracks, all improvised, this recording demonstrates the creativity during the lockdown month October-December 2020. It is an exploratory creation, showing the adventurous side of both drummer and sax player as they explore the limitations and possibilities of the drum/sax format. Both musicians are active on the UK/European jazz and improvised music scene collaborating with musicians such as Evan Parker, John Stevens, London Improvisers Orchestra and Philipp Wachsmann to mention just a few. ‘From Where Light Falls’ represents a new explorative duo on the improvised music scene.
Jones comments, “The music was born out of a desire to create new music in a time of immense challenges and restrictions for everyone in the world. I first met Emil when he was an undergraduate student on the Jazz Pathway at Leeds Conservatoire. Last autumn of 2020 he joined the Master's Post Graduate course and we discussed the possibility of setting up regular play together, settling on a regular Monday night meet with social distancing and other precautionary safety measures in place. After a few of these and listening back to some recordings it became clear there was a strong musical connection developing. We then planned a series of sessions to properly record and document these Monday Night meetings. These recordings are from October to December. Every Monday we would finish playing and exit onto the streets of an eerily deserted city night. This music isn't about that specifically, but it was created from that time.”
‘Oktober’ Sees Jones improvising around a motif initially and making light work of finding different ways to explore the music. The percussion, when is comes, is light, tight and supportive. At times, Jones’ melodic playing rivals the drums for sound but the reactions are swift and fitting. In the final third, Jones spirals and soars while Karlsen reacts first tentatively, then with full- on, in your face competitive thrashes. A delight.
‘November Pt 1’ is eerie and strange with voiced sax over tricky percussion. There is an emptiness to the sounds, as if a coldness has stolen into the music. However, half way through or thereabouts, the conversation really begins and the drums and sax interact to create an ebb and flow of noise, gaps and flurries of sound which work beautifully, like they are suddenly awake to each other’s presence. Jones’ honking and splurges resolve into melodic passages, rising and soaring, under which and into which the drums add their texture. The ending is peaceful and calm with gong sounding across breathy low sax.
‘November pt2’ continues the eerie, atmospheric sound, this time emphasised by gong and tubes to create a spacey, wind-swept landscape in the mind. The melancholy sax rises to solo at one point before dropping back to breathy, barely there sounds and ‘November Pt3’ continues – it feels like a journey at this point, travelling across a landscape where sounds and pitches come from anywhere around. There is a wonderful sense of communication which develops as the track develops with the drums picking up the rhythms set by the sax and vice-versa, although there is a disparity in leadership between the two with the sax dictating most of the tempo and changes. However, that said, the reaction from the drums is, at times, really creative and Karlsen delivers some interesting musical ideas.
‘December Pt1’ is a beauty of a track with Jones continually pushing, rising and exploring. By the end of the track he is playing out of his skin and the response, again, is crazy good. ‘December Pt 2’ sees the drums dictate the rhythm pattern at the start, intricate, delicate and decisive before Jones responds, entering with melodic phrasing which then develops into more exploratory journeys, punctuated appropriately by the drums, while ‘December Pt 3’ has the sax entry with exorcised phrases developing around the key before the track evolves into a conversation with both players excelling. ‘December Pt 4’, which completes the album is turn and turn about with sax and drums both taking and accepting the lead in terms of volume and rhythm.
Ed Jones (tenor saxophone); Emil Karlsen (drums)
Recorded October/December 2020
FMR Records FMRCD610-0321