New History Warfare Volume 2: Judges

Colin Stetson

Multi-reedist Colin Stetson presents an intriguing proposition on his second solo album, New History Warfare Volume 2: Judges: What would it sound like if the saxophone was used not as merely a vehicle for solo expression, but as a polyphonic, looping instrument in the service of highly abstract music? There are some antecedents in the modernist, multi-disciplinary work of Rova Saxophone Quartet, and perhaps Steve Reich, but Stetson’s approach bears few traces of any jazz tradition, apart from an occasional Albert Ayler-esque squeal. The result is an album of highly textural sounds that seem, at first listen, to have been created through heavy digital processing, but New History was recorded entirely live — with the exception of a French horn overdub, a guest vocal by Laurie Anderson and one by Shara Worden, of My Brightest Diamond, on a haunting version of “Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes.”