Bruce Freedman: Collage

With Jared Burrows guitar, Josh Zubot violin, Karlis Silins bass, & Kenton Loewen drums

Bruce Freedman: Collage

Saxophonist Bruce Freedman is a local improvising legend. He recorded his newest album, Collage, with Jared Burrows on guitar, Josh Zubot on violin, Karlis Silins on bass, and Kenton Loewen on drums live at the 2023 Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 28th. After the band took to the festival's Revue stage, Burrows post-produced the audio and the Infidels Jazz label released.

The album title references Freedman's parallel artistic practice of visual art through cutting things up. You could say this band is cut up, too – across your two ears. The band is mixed in a stimulating stereo field that allows you to follow each instrument. The recording quality is high, the energy lively. The three long numbers provide a lot of room for everybody to stretch out and make some West Coast art music, with Freedman's saxophone keen to share the frontline with violin and guitar.

While the saxophone tone has a different flavour than Ornette Coleman's, the ensemble sits directly in the Ornette lineage. Silins' bass playing is nicely audible for a live set in a small room and is interesting to follow. As the ensemble rumbles along, Kenton Loewen continues to stoke it from the drums as only he can do.

Jared is in the left ear, skronking and chipping in on the ensemble melodies as one of two melodic alternatives to Freedman; Zubot's violin sits in the middle as the other.

With the release of Collage, the Infidels label both engages with the history of Vancouver jazz – in the sense that Freedman has been a major figure going back to the 1970s with a trail of recorded moments – and develops an ensemble for the present. Tim Reinert has presented the band twice en route to releasing the album on his label, closing down the New Thing at Red Gate Gallery with them in 2022 (see video) and then throwing an album release double-bill at Tyrant Studios, under the same New Thing series banner, in February with Darren Williams.

Although only Burrows and Zubot were constant members with Freedman through all these performances, that's one good gig a year for this improvising project that includes some of the most important members of our creative scene. Collage encapsulates the great impact that Infidels Jazz has right now, and it's an inspired performance on record through which younger listeners like me can discover Freedman's work.

Collage cover

released Feb. 2, 2024 / Buy digital-only (Bandcamp) / Available on streaming