Bamako

“Be Out S’Cool”

(TUM)

A meeting of creative jazz titans, the OGJB Quartet performed for the first time at New York’s Winter Jazz Festival in 2016. Bassist Joe Fonda and drummer Barry Altschul were longtime colleagues, playing together for a decade with the FAB Trio with Billy Bang and then with 3Dom Factor with saxophonist Jon Irabagon. Fonda and Altschul invited saxophonist Oliver Lake and cornetist Graham Haynes to join them, and OGJB — an acronym of their first names — was formed. The group’s debut recording, 2019’s Bamako (TUM), lived up to expectations set by that Winter Jazz Fest performance, displaying the synergy of a true collective of peers and boasting one of the most compelling rhythm teams in the business. With each player contributing compositions to the work, and two studio improvisations, the program reflects their varied sonic signatures and passions, for example, Fonda’s nod to beloved activist-academic Cornel West and Lake’s recitation of his poem “Broken in Parts” on the title track. Altschul revisits his “Be Out S’Cool” (a play on his name, “B. Altschul”), our selection, a tune he’s come back to on records from the 1980s to the 2000s. As he explains in the album notes, because the changes are implied rather than written, the possibilities are endless. With a melody based on Monk’s “Misterioso,” the track begins with the full ensemble in unison before Haynes takes point, flying brassy fusillades over Altschul’s rumble and Fonda’s fleet pizzicato. Lake then picks up the baton and launches a toothed and textured charge, full of momentum and emotion. OGJB released a third recording earlier this year, Ode to O, also on TUM.

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