I just love being reminded of my ignorance on a regular basis. Thanks to Patrick Shiroishi – a superb sax player and composer – and his title choice for this album, this beast of a reviewer was forced to Google to meet Christian B. Anfinsen and learn more about the importance of his researches in the field of biochemistry. As usual, it is never too late to pick up something new.
The same can be told of the material on offer here. You take a look at the label, and expect sounds walking along certain borders. But it’s not to be, for Black Sun Sutra (originally the denomination of a solo effort by Shiroishi from 2013) is a quintet that mixes several stylistic coordinates in a creative ambit that ranges from angular jazz-influenced rock – see “Athialowi” – to out-and-out free (case in point, the veritably scorching “Don’t Truth Me And I Won’t Truth You”). Still, there’s a lot in between to be enjoyed; for example, the last two tracks introduce entirely different sonic traits. “Stand Up And Lose Your Name And Become One” is supported by the reiteration of a baritone sax vamp, acquiring an almost shamanic temperament as the music grows around it, whereas “Esteemer” finds the nominal leader unaccompanied and in brooding mood, quite distant from the repeated upsurges of the preceding tunes.
All things considered, and having nodded in respectful approval to the group’s fine balance of explosiveness and precision, this outing shows a strong spinal column supporting a mix of vision and cognizance by five excellent musicians. It’s always better to admire a mature reliability than throwing ourselves in the frail arms of a counterfeit revolution.