Zack Clarke Trio
Clean Feed Records 2017
Random Acts of Order boldly confronts some of the core questions posed by free music. Working with two of the most dynamic young talents on the improvised music scene, bassist Henry Fraser and percussionist/composer Dre Hocevar, Zack Clarke explores a space between order and freedom that is represented by the polarities of idiomatic expectations and free improvisation. The results are explored through forms that include swing, rock, minimalist, electronic music and solo piano; and while the essential elements of these styles maintain their integrity, the music here challenges their functional use, deconstructing and redefining them to create entirely new forms.
Pianist Zack Clarke was a pupil of renowned keyboard players Jason Moran, Fred Hersch, Danilo Perez and Kenny Werner, and he also studied improvisation with guitarist/double bassist Joe Morris, the author of the liner notes of Random Acts of Order. Morris says it all in his text: “the new generation of jazz musicians here represented by Clarke and his partners Henry Fraser and Dre Hocevar is expected to know everything of what was done before and to change the music in unexpected ways.” Contesting this myth, Morris supports the idea that these young cats simply navigate their own paths, committed to the great adventure of music creativity but adverse to unnecessary expectations. That’s the best way to listen to this recording: without preconceived ideas, freeing the music and the musicians from other agendas that are alien to their own. When it happens, the best of this astonishing album finally erupts: the sense that there are narratives being told, with personas interacting with each other and with its landscapes giving an impression of completeness. Strong pulses, rich dynamics and suggestive melodic phrasings are what you’ll find here, and that’s all you can ask for.