Points on an Infinite Line
Label: Orenda Records
Momentum; A Force for Good; Fellowship; Impulse and Influence; Solidarity; Come Humble; A Moment of Clarity; 2020
For trumpeter, composer, producer Dan Rosenboom, being an artist is about seeking connection and shared consciousness while reflecting the times in which we live. From his own musical pursuits to his ever-expanding Orenda Records label, Rosenboom seeks to highlight the interconnectedness of human culture, thought, and spirit in both grounded and imaginative ways. His latest Orenda release, POINTS ON AN INFINITE LINE, presents a suite of seven sketches and an absurdist epilogue performed by a quartet of friends, and asserts that composition, performance, improvisation, and artistic interaction are part of a larger cultural and philosophical continuum, stretching infinitely forward and backward through time. “Especially during this time of isolation and social upheaval, the need for connection, recognition of our shared humanity, reflection on our cultural history, and cultivation of an equitable future resonate as our civilization’s most pressing imperatives. Music and art can inspire people toward these connections, and by offering the dedicated listener uplifting energy, can be a bonding, motivating, and healing force amid turmoil.” –Dan Rosenboom Rosenboom’s music seeks a nexus between the intellectual and spiritual, yet remains humble and relatable. Even at his most abstract, the music is tangibly human and often looks beyond the limits of a single imagination. The space he leaves for extensive collective improvisation and conceptual stretching allows his band mates to co-create and co-own the music, and the audience is invited to join in the imaginative exploration as well. This precious and sacred relationship between performers and listeners has been emphasized by its absence during the COVID-19 quarantine, but the remarkable social uprisings of 2020 and broad demands for racial justice and reconciliation offer a beacon of hope that recognition of our shared humanity and the desire to connect are expanding. With POINTS ON AN INFINITE LINE, Rosenboom quite literally brings his grandiose scope home. The album was recorded in his own garage with close friends Gavin Templeton (alto saxophone), Billy Mohler (double bass), and Anthony Fung (drums & percussion). This was actually the last recording session at the Orenda Records headquarters prior to the pandemic lockdown, and embodies the gritty, stripped-down, DIY aesthetic of much of Los Angeles’s creative underground. In fact, the album’s eight tracks were composed in a single day, refined at a three-night residency at LA’s Sam First Jazz Club, and finally recorded in a single three-hour session. Rosenboom engineered and mixed the album himself, with production input from Mohler, and it was mastered by long-time collaborator and Orenda Records artist, Sam Minaie. This familial approach embodies the Orenda ethos: that community is our greatest strength. POINTS ON AN INFINITE LINE opens with a shimmering percussion and trumpet introduction to “Momentum,” an inexorable, slow burn featuring fantastic group interplay. From the get-go, Don Cherry’s guiding influence can be felt hovering gently above the band, and two of the album’s cuts derive their titles from quotes by luminaries John Coltrane and James Newton. “A Force for Good” recalls Coltrane’s stated purpose, and “Come Humble” comes from a recent interview between Rosenboom and Newton. These and other influences are palpable in spirit more than style, but underscore the continuum on which this music falls. Throughout the record, the horn interplay between Rosenboom and Templeton is remarkable, as they nimbly weave compelling solo and duo exchanges and synchronized melodies. Mohler’s hypnotic bass lines provide a churning foundation, especially on tunes like “Fellowship” and “Solidarity,” and Fung’s dynamic drumming propels the music with steady fire. The whole band’s interaction is consistently joyous and inventive. “Impulse and Influence” and “A Moment of Clarity” both employ alluring chromaticism as a launch pad for expansive group improvisation, with solo and duo breakdowns that spotlight each musician’s individual creativity. The album closes with “2020,” a raucous burst that reflects the frenzied absurdity of the current American moment, and with its berserk improvisation, recalls John Zorn’s Spy vs Spy in a meta-reference to Ornette Coleman’s pervasive and enduring influence. As current as its themes are, POINTS ON AN INFINITE LINE is timeless music. The spirit presented in these sketches highlights our need for connection, across time and space, to share in the joyous and healing power of music. In its best moments, art offers humanity a chance at shared consciousness and spiritual growth, and this band's spontaneous synchronicity demonstrates this pursuit with clarity, levity, power, and grace. As we evolve as a culture, we remember that our experiences are part of an infinite continuum that connects us all. POINTS ON AN INFINITE LINE is now available from Orenda Records.
Album uploaded by Dan Rosenboom