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David Torn: Prezens

By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 12, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
Guitarist Torn has quietly labored in the jazz and prog-rock trenches for more than 20 years. This album serves notice that he’s through being quiet. Torn says Prezens channels his anger with the music biz and with his struggle with cancer into his playing. He’s used that teeth-gritting energy to create a jagged sonic landscape that darts between evocative jazz and blistering rock. These 11 ceaselessly adventurous compositions are best at their extremes, like the tranquil opening passage of “Structural Functions of Prezens,” where the gently fluttering melodies of Torn and saxist Tim Berne evoke a field of butterflies flitting over the heart-like kick drum of Tom Rainey. Then there’s the opener, “Ak,” which pads gracefully along until a thin laser beam of feedback and sax leads a Craig Taborn Hammond B-3 line that visits Jimmy Smith’s legacy before the whole works explodes in a crunching Tool-like riff fest. This disc is unpredictable, uncompromising, and entirely rewarding.

David Torn | Regattabar, 1 Bennett Street, Charles Hotel, Cambridge| March 20 | 617.395.7757
  Topics: CD Reviews , David Torn , Tim Berne , Jimmy Smith
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