The ensemble gathered for Quartet Red – seemingly nameless except for the suggestion of the album’s title – is composed largely of members of the nine-piece Russian free-jazz group Goat’s Notes – Vladimir Kudryavtsev (bass), Gregory Sandomirsky (piano), and Piotr Talalay (drums). The only outsider here is the French saxophonist Fred Costa, but he fits right in with the prevailing mood of the album.
Paranoid ramblings of a mind far-gone seems the most apt way to describe it, particularly the vocals of Costa and Sandomirsky that chatter, wail and growl – largely incoherently. The same can be said for much of the instrumentals too, freely improvised for the most part.
It’s Ornette Coleman meets Tom Waits circa 1980: Tracks such as When Bars Are Closing (a dirge which feels like it could have been lifted straight out of Rain Dogs), and the disoriented waltz that closes Where Is The Station? wouldn’t feel out of place inside a rundown pub in an old, grey Eastern European town.
The most musical track on the album – the jolly, drunkenly striding blues of Farewell Coctail [sic] – is also the shortest, and the last. It feels like a bitter joke given what precedes it, and it is the perfect way to round the whole thing off.
Outta Town; Rush Hour Beauty; Chasing Tail; Where Is The Station?; Hotel Room Disasters; When Bars Are Closing; Dead Partners; Cactus; Farewell Coctail (57.07)
Vladimir Kudryavtsev (b); Fred Costa (ts, v); Gregory Sandomirsky (p, v); Piotr Talalay (d). DOM Cultural Center, Moscow, October 2018.
Leo Records CD LR 882