Thursday, October 02, 2003  
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MARK HELIASí OPEN LOOSE
VERBS OF WILL
BY ED HAZELL
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The name of bassist Mark Heliasís current trio says a lot about their musical approach. In the past, Helias has led some superbly arranged small ensembles, but with this band he emphasizes the spontaneous over the composed. The heart of the music is in the interaction of Tony Malabyís saxophone, Tom Raineyís drums, and the leaderís bass. Malaby is a tuneful improviser, even when heís exploring abstract cries and flutters; his innate lyricism and sense of development turn "Mistral Angel" and "AKA" into blends of the written and the improvised. Whether heís breaking up the continuity on "Relic" or pushing his bandmates along as he drops unpredictable accents during "Hegemony," the perpetually undervalued Rainey is the most consistently surprising of the threesome. Helias remains a team player more than a leader here, playing countermelodies to Malaby one instant, locking rhythmically with Rainey the next. With their collective approach to improvising, Open Loose keep the music full of warmth and spontaneity as well as thoughtfully proportioned and fun.


Issue Date: September 26 - October 2, 2003
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