Our Theory: Our Theory

Our Theory originated from a jam involving saxophonist Ilhan Ersahin and French trumpet player Erik Truffaz. Hearing the promise in their playing, the two recruited guitarist Thor Madsen, drummer Jochen Rueckert, and bassist Matt Penman for two days of recording, after which Ersahin, Rueckert and Madsen spent two years electronically assembling the group's self-titled disc. The quintet draws from multiple jazz traditions—‘60s acoustic jazz, Miles's ‘70s electric voodoo period (“Our Theory”), jazz-rock fusion—but extends its nu-jazz music's scope to encompass recent genres like drum & bass (“My Sugar”) and trance-house (“Our Song”). Two of the disc's most interesting pieces are “Yeah, That's Right” and “Nu,” the first alternating muscular Coltranesque sax and muted trumpet echo over a lilting reggae-inflected blues and the second adopting a freer attack that suggests a joint Naked City-Lounge Lizards session with Ersahin channeling Gary Thomas's robust tone. Notwithstanding the electronic assembly dimension, Our Theory trods paths heretofore explored by others but what recommends the disc is the group's ability to keep the listener constantly guessing, with each piece's stylistic character and trajectory a surprise. You never know whether a given piece will revisit the Hades of Agharta, Pangaea, and Dark Magus or prove a showcase for the horn players' soloing talents (“Shades of You”).

August 2006