As the year begins to draw to a close I’m already sliding into playing catch up. With a year so full of releases, there were bound to be quite a few good ones that got away. Such is the case with Flock. While the London Odense Ensemble release sits high on my list of favorites, I’d somehow missed a good portion of the group sitting in together just a short time previously. Both keys player Al MacSween and woodwinds multi-instrumentalist Tamar Osborn fill out the ranks of Flock, joined by a few more London jazz heads — Bex Burch behind the kit, vibes, and percussive ephemera, Sarathy Korwar on drums and tabla, and Dan Leavers on Rhodes, synths and piano. The set that transpired between the quintet is improvised, but rarely unraveled.
The band adheres to a sense of structure that rides rhythm but lets the players explore the headspace, stretching out sax and clarinet lines with a sense of wonder and filling the speakers with fogged synths. With the rhythmic anchor, it should be no surprise that Burch controls the action, both from the kit and the producer’s chair. He and Korwar let the tide rise and fall, corralling the players as they paint the landscape with vibrant hues. Not as overtly psychedelic as what Osborn and MacSween would go on to create just months later, but the record has its own sense of psychic shift, diving deep into the dark recesses of the mind and scraping out the coral-colored resin that resides deep in the inner consciousness.
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