The internationally regarded improvising trio Jones Jones -- featuring multi-reed artist Larry Ochs, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Vladimir Tarasov -- touched down at the Loft on May 24 in a concert that capitalized on their long history together and their shared sense of deep listening.
The concert began with a short set by Dresser’s advanced jazz ensemble students at UCSD, including Niloufar Shiri, Hesam Abedini, Connor Hughes, Patrick Chung, Marc Olsher and Michael Hayes, which embraced adventure while tugging at the edges of extreme atonality while providing spotlights for excellent solos by Hughes and Hayes.
Jones Jones took the stage and immediately embarked on an exchange between Ochs’s gruff multiphonics and Dresser’s piercing bowed harmonics over soft but relentless waves of percussion. Dresser has the ability to sound like at least two bass players at once, with scurrying two-handed tapping and tangential counterpoint, especially effective when layered against Ochs’s chirping, warbled sopranino and the obstreperous rattling of Tarasov, who struck the edge of almost every available surface.
Tarasov began the third improvisation by playing a tiny palm-sized tambourine, eliciting a torrent of overlapping rhythms that served as a launching pad for high-frequency sorties from Ochs and Dresser that didn’t let up until the bassist discovered a deep loping ostinato, which everyone latched onto with stuttering, violent extensions.
Tarasov evoked the spirit of Elvin Jones with a remarkable cymbal/snare-drum groove that evolved into a spectacular solo rich in architecture and flow, while Dresser countered with indigo bowing, and Ochs screamed into the rafters like Albert Ayler having a seizure.
The concert was perfectly paced, with five improvisations that never wore out their welcome, and at the end it seemed like only a few moments had elapsed. That’s what I’d call an enriching experience, and another sterling moment from Brian Ross and the folks at the Loft.