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CD Review: David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter 

David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter
Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast
(2011, Terra Nova Music)

They’re all so exhilaratingly eclectic that a casual listener might miss the explorative curiosity within the 12 compositions of Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast by clarinetist David Rothenberg and pianist and keyboardist Dr. Lewis Porter. From the free motion and whirling electronic sounds of “Available Light” to the version of Ornette Coleman’s  stark “Lonely Woman,” there’s no one tune that pins the release down to call it this or that, which is what makes jazz and improvisational music ever-wondrous. The funk kicks in with “To Work in Newark” and the swaggering “Bennie M is Back,” with Rothenberg having a tough and throaty sound throughout. Porter’s overflowing satchel of strategic riffs, twists, and turns pours onto the keys of his piano and Roland Fantom X7 keyboard, and his time with Badal Roy in the quartet Dharma Jazz rubs off in the metallic-sounding pulsations of “Rubber Band Man.” Stephen Foster’s melancholy “Hard Times Come Again No More” finishes the release.

Putnam County’s Rothenberg and Westchester County’s Porter will perform at the Falcon in Marlboro on December 8 (Porter does double duty that evening with Dharma Jazz, which opens the show). Rothenberg will be at the Inquiring Mind bookstore in Saugerties on November 12 for the presentation of his third book, Survival of the Beautiful. An author and a philosopher-naturalist, he says that “there is more music in the animal world than there is language.” A well-noted educator, Porter is an author as well (see 2000’s John Coltrane: His Life and Music).
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