Just Justice

Recorded and mixed by Andrew Munsey.

Jones Jones seems like such a pedestrian name for a trio of decidedly revolutionary dimensions but these players manage to transcend. Saxophone trios are nothing new in the music, dating back to the ‘50s, but when one combines Larry Ochs (tenor and sopranino saxophones), Mark Dresser (bass) and Vladimir Tarasov (drums, turning 75 this month) sparks will fly. This collectively improvised album was recorded on Jan. 12th, 2020 at Studio B on the campus of UC-San Diego, where Dresser is a professor, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pedigrees of each member of Jones Jones is quite impressive: Ochs is the O in the ROVA Saxophone Quartet; Dresser came to fame as a 10-year member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet; and Tarasov is best known as a member of the Ganelin Trio.

The album begins with an almost orchestral vibration, courtesy of deep drum tones. Dresser attacks his instrument from every direction other than what is expected and Ochs stokes the fire with a garrulous bellicosity. Dresser sets up “Bali Hai Jones” with a rough-sawn arco that could leave splinters, as Ochs pitches and yaws over the defiantly non-metronomic pulse of the drums. Many of these tracks are seamlessly performed with great variety without running out of steam. On “Call Of The Jones”, the bassist heralds a hair-raising dissonant drone with the bow, virtually daring Tarasov into a hailstorm of activity, reminiscent of Rashied Ali’s explosive contributions to John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space, especially when Ochs launches into a series of screaming, squealing multiphonics. The bassist and drummer conjure up a sensational groove with pizzicato pluck and feathery brushes on “Jones Free Jones”, enabling Ochs to warble in a joyously gruff exploration bringing to mind prime Archie Shepp (think On This Night, for reference.) Tarasov opens “RBG Jones” by tattooing an infectious beat on snare as Dresser injects bi-tonal tapping and Ochs swings for the fences with a blistering caterwaul. The penultimate selection, “Further Adventures of Ms. Microtonal Jones”, highlights the almost impossibly rich sound of arco bass in contrast to shimmering cymbals and soaring sopranino commentary.

Anyone who loves the work of a truly exploratory saxophone trio that extrapolates the revolutionary templates of the ‘60s would be wise to seek this out.

ESP Disk

Released June 18, 2022

Jones Jones Is:
LARRY OCHS – tenor and sopranino saxophones
VLADIMIR TARASOV – drums, percussion
MARK DRESSER – double bass

Recorded and mixed by Andrew Munsey at Studio A, UC San Diego, January 16, 2020.

Produced by Larry Ochs.

Mastered August 2021 by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Lab, Oakland, CA.