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Image via Yousef Hilmy


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Will Schube still can’t believe Larry David got Salman Rushdie to say ‘fatwa sex’ on Curb Your Enthusiasm.


Heady, honkin’, wildin’ free jazz first seems like a foreign language, in which the code is cracked when you finally understand. And Dave Harrington, Patrick Shiroshi, and Max Jaffe’s new trio album, Speak, Moment, may initially scan as unapproachable, but beneath the improvisatory structure is a mighty, infectious, and inviting heartbeat. As Shiroshi tells me, “I just want people who hear our music to feel something.”

The trio linked in a patchwork manner. Psych-leaning improv maestro Dave Harrington and Max Jaffe can trace their roots to their shared time in the NYC underground. Once both artists were firmly relocated in LA, Abrams connected Harrington with another friend of his, Shiroshi. The duo immediately hit it off too.

Shiroshi appears everywhere you look, whether at the tragically defunct ETA Highland Park (where this trio often played together) or on tour with reincarnated rock gods The Armed. He’s also a member of the most excellent chamber-folk-jazz group Fuubutsushi. Harrington, who fans of this site should know, broke through as one-half of Darkside but has become a jazz hero for a new generation in more recent years, between his solo releases and live shows. He has also single-handedly revived the Online Ceramics secondhand market in LA with his Dead-celebrating jam band Taper’s Choice (real heads—real Heads?—know).

Jaffe suggested the trio hit the studio, and aside from a few general touchstones and ideas, the group decided to record some ideas and see what came of them. The result is Speak, Moment, an otherworldly blend of these three players’ voices into an urgent, pulsing, shifting organism.

“It can go any number of ways, but this is just one of those lucky cosmic things that worked out,” says Harrington about the project. “Sometimes people show up and they have a really concise thing that they do, and then it’s about interacting with that. Some people show up and bring a little more malleability.” Harrington credits the success of this project to each player’s balance.

“This worked because the three of us hold those two things in equal measure,” Harrington adds. “We operate in a lot of different musical worlds, and so we’re used to being a little chameleonic, but we all have very strong identities as improvisers.”

This record is both a collection of songs and a rare token that should be cherished. It’s a live capturing of three generationally talented musicians performing together for the first time, speaking a language immediately felt but impossible to translate. This shit happened in the 60s, when all-timers would link up for a day and drop a record. But as it turns out, Harrington, Shiroshi, and Jaffe are part of a history that is rich, vital, and still innovative. We should count ourselves lucky. It is, to put it bluntly and a bit obviously, what makes music so f*cking cool.

To help decode the roots of Speak, Moment, we asked each member in the group to share three albums that either reflect the spirit of the LP or serve as a jumping off point — whether you’re a free jazz connoisseur or hide in the other room when the honks come calling.



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