Fans of contemporary jazz will be thrilled to listen to Flock’s debut album, a collaborative effort in experimental jazz between five of London’s top musicians in the genre: Bex Burch, Sarathy Korwar, Danalogue, Al MacSween, and Tamar Osborn.
The album is rife with improvisation, and carefully strings together moody, thought-provoking tracks. Beginning with “Expand,” Flock’s song titles are all aptly named. Listeners are invited to expand their idea of what jazz is and can be, and that theme is parlayed into “Sounds Welcome,” where sounds are definitely welcome. It’s eerie and tribal, and a good reminder that music doesn’t necessarily have to follow a distinct pattern.
Flock are masters of experimental jazz, and that is more apparent in “It’s Complicated” than in any other song on the album. Full of unique and unexpected harmonies, the track, one of the longest songs on the album, redefines rhythm and highlights Flock’s ability to use woodwinds in jazz unlike anything heard before.
Immediately after “It’s Complicated,” we’re transported into the bleak world that is “What Purpose.” Bare and haunting, it’s a major shift from the previous track, forcing us to answer the question the title is begging – or at least ponder it. But then, is it even a question? Flock leaves much to the imagination.
The record ends with “Fully Breathed,” a complete culmination of the album’s themes and a bit of an ode to improvised jazz. The organized chaos of the final track echoes everything we heard on Flock and establishes this group as true jazz maestros.
Buy their eponymous album here.