Tuesday 26 January 2021

'Lateless' by Bad Uok

'Lateless' is the new album offering from the Italian quartet, Bad Uok, released through the German label, Trouble In The East.

As the brainchild of drummer, Andrea Grillini, Bad Uok's incredibly bold and inspired approach to jazz has been set in motion as far back as 2010 with the collective's initial debut album, 'Enter', having been released in 2013 through Italy's Auand label. 

Comprising the members of Bad Uok for this go round are of course Grillini on drums, trombonist Federico Pierantoni, pianist Andrea Calì and Leonardo Rizzo on Fender Rhodes; each musician boasting a wealth of experience to bring to the table and an extensive list of past collaborations. 

Grillini has always had a penchant for the improvised and it’s a discipline that he and Bad Uok practically celebrate throughout this album.  Grillini's style is rooted within his ability to begin with a set-piece but still have the freedom to take the performance into unexplored territory while empowering his fellow players to take those same risks and creative freedoms.

'Lateless' strikes like it is bursting with an overwhelming desire for liberation.  Although best not described as playful, the compositions are most definitely exploratory as they seem to relish the challenge of breaking out of any preconceived confines that expectations may have placed them within.

Over the course of the album's seven tracks, the quartet perform beautifully together creating a no-rules musical environment that nurtures the project's intentions. '105 Pt.3' serves as the perfect introduction to the album but also to the musicians as individual players; 'Nails' follows with its ever-fluctuating pace that proves to be another real standout before the album's centrepiece and the 'Lateless' title track.  At just under eight minutes long, 'Lateless' is remarkable in its presentation - more measured in its storytelling opposed to other numbers but exquisitely haunting at the same time.  

The album is a glorious experiment.  I refer to it as an experiment in the way I earlier cite the playing like an exploration - the musicians play sublimely and confidently explore the space around them almost not knowing what they'll find while still delivering on their overall focus.  

It’s really an incredible performance to witness, particularly when experiencing it for the first time.

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