Review: Multa – Multa (Discos Carnitas, Aug 19)

The debut declaration from transnational ensemble quartet Multa, composed of Americans Jorrit Dijkstra and Jeb Bishop and Mexicans Alonso López Valdés and Gibrán Andrade, is an intense, visceral, improvisation-heavy imagining of pieces by several jazz composers both within and external to the group. The opening suite of “Bird Call” and “Trickles”—the former by Bishop, the latter by the late Steve Lacy—is an immediate showcase of the immense talent and collective interplay at work here, and the way the band slips smoothly from carnivalesque big-band facsimiles and melodic head trades to incendiary chaos also persists through the entirety of the release. “In-house” composers Bishop (trombone) and Dijkstra (saxophone, lyricon, electronics) are the more seasoned performers here career- and age-wise, but more often than not the highlight ends up being the nimble tumbles of the rhythm section of Valdés (bass) and Andrade (drums), particularly the latter, whose expressive kit scrabbles, snare builds, and hard-swung accents make even the lively, whimsical “Papa’s Midnight Hop” a gleefully unstable, almost ersatz affair. What also helps not only Andrade’s hits but the rest of the musicians’ contributions really sing is the distinct approach used by recording engineer Emiliano Rodríguez: roomy and spacious yet still-hard hitting in a really physical way that make Valdés’s pizz plunks, the blaring unison horns, and the metallic, almost industrial clatter of Andrade’s frenzied cymbal work all land with the heaviest impact possible. And they couldn’t have picked a better conclusion than “Razorlip,” which is, in short, unforgettable.