Alex Coke, Tina Marsh, Steve Feld, Ron Westray, and Joe LoCascio

Jazz Sides

Texas Platters

The new collaborative album from veteran Austin compadres Alex Coke, Tina Marsh, and Steve Feld, It's Possible (Voxlox), is fearless in its vision and certainly not for novices. Portions of this challenging set of improvised music are reminiscent of abstract sound collages from Chicago AACM pioneer Roscoe Mitchell, but reedman Coke and vocalist Marsh, who have dialogued musically for years and developed an intimate language, landmark recognizable touchstones – Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman," Charles Mingus' "Eclipse," and Harry T. Burleigh's "Deep River" – to which they give their own unique spin. Their duos are augmented subtly by Feld's melodic and percussive ashiwa bass box, the four-tune medley "Steve Lacy Suite" a fitting tribute to an improvisational master and mentor. Definitely more in a mainstream groove is the tuneful set of originals from trombonist Ron Westray, Medical Cures for the Chromatic Commands of the Inner City (Blue Canoe). Former member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and current assistant professor in jazz studies at the University of Texas, Westray shares a front line here with formidable LCJO allies trumpeter Ryan Kisor and saxophonist Walter Blanding Jr. All the tunes are short and of medium or slow tempo, emphasizing the rich harmonies and soulful group ambience over individual firepower. Westray gives himself a bit of solo space on "Pow Wow" and "Sun Day" to exude a warm, amber tone. Those who like solo piano albums in the contemplative, ECM mold will savor Joe LoCascio's latest, Ghosts (Blue Bamboo Music). The Houston vet lends his considerable talent to an intimate collection of 13 beautifully executed originals that's less pristine but livelier than the Nordic chill of his European counterparts. Despite interludes of animated activity on "Crumbling Divinity," "One I Hope to Love," and "Nightingales," the overall lack of variation tends to transform its meditative qualities into somnolent ones.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Alex Coke
Alex Coke saxes political

Jay Trachtenberg, July 22, 2005

Alex Coke's <i>Iraqnophobia</i> Reviewed
Alex Coke's Iraqnophobia Reviewed

Robert Gabriel, July 22, 2005

More Tina Marsh
Off the Record
Off the Record
Music News

Austin Powell, Sept. 11, 2009

Tina Marsh
Tina Marsh
In memoriam

Robert Faires, June 19, 2009

More Music Reviews
Review: Alex Coke & Carl Michel Sextet, <i>EMERGENCE</i>
Review: Alex Coke & Carl Michel Sextet, EMERGENCE
EMERGENCE (Record Review)

Michael Toland, May 12, 2023

Fall Platters
Jeff Lofton
Jericho (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Nov. 29, 2019

More by Jay Trachtenberg
Indigo de Souza, Estrella Acosta, and More Crucial Concerts
Indigo de Souza, Estrella Acosta, and More Crucial Concerts
A little hair of the dog for your post-SXSW listening pleasure

March 22, 2024

Book Review: <i>Edendale</i> by Michael Ventura
Book Review: Edendale by Michael Ventura
Former “Letters at 3am” columnist celebrates the early days of Hollywood in new novel

March 1, 2024


Alex Coke, Tina Marsh, Steve Feld, Ron Westray, Joe LoCascio

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle