Naked Allies, a collaboration between jazz musicians from Dublin and New York City, is a new quartet that weds jazz with certain undercurrent of rock aesthetic, and unfettered improvisation with tenacious composition.
These musicians bring a dark, covered quality to bear on this release. This is music that seems like it should always exist below street level, in cloth lined studios and dimmed basement clubs. Alternately intense and complex, then melodic and beautiful, there is a duality at play always here, with defined compositions giving way to poignant yet challenging solos.
All the tunes on this release have been penned by Daniel Rorke and Matthew Jacobson, whom are frequent collaborators on the increasingly robust and creative Dublin jazz scene. They are joined here by two of New York’s most eligible creative improvisors; altoist Oscar Noriega of Tim Berne’s group Snake Oil and the NYC supergroup Endangered Blood, and Simon Jermyn who having hailed from Dublin himself originally has now been ten years in New York working with some of the top creative improvisers such as Matt Manieri, Jim Black and many, many others.
There is something of all these musicians and their prior experiences in this recording. Rorke himself has recorded with many of the top Nordic jazz musicians, and brings a wide spectrum of musical touchstones to the group, from a certain undefinable European melodic sense to subtle slices of Wayne Shorter to Mark Turner and downtown tenor players like Tony Malaby and Chris Speed. Jacobson, a regular fixture now on the European creative music scene, has his flexibility and sympathetic resonance on full display here blending decisive robust drumming with a chromatic spectrum of textural maneuvering within the composition.
Naked Allies first release on Orenda Records presents a new chapter in the ongoing dialogue between the Downtown NYC and European jazz scene. Building upon the sounds of innovative groups like those of Berne, E-Blood and Alas No Axis, this record is well positioned to be a special moment in lineage of intercontinental improvised music. It is a record that makes an impact on the listener, and guaranteed you will want this on your turntable.