Test Test

Since 1992, Test have been shaking up NYC’s architecture, art and human highs-and-lows from the stations of the Metro Transit Authority with an authority all their own. These growers of organic, below-ground jazz are Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter, Tom Bruno and Matthew Heyner and they’ve come up recently to launch a new self-titled CD, their first, on stunning Brooklyn label Aum Fidelity. Theirs is a collective insistent and immediate expression of creation at the margin of the map. The frontline of multi-reedist Sabir Mateen and multi-reedist and trumpeter Daniel Carter fairly bust heads with their powerful twinned, twined, full-out attack. There is joy in their faces as they challenge from their chosen position in this place, which, I guess, is the jazz centre of the universe. Mateen never fails to astonish with his intensity and fluid motion from tenor to clarinet to flute to voice. Tom Bruno, too, is a veteran of the heyday of the ’70s loft scene that’s all but entirely disappeared from the cityscape. His colours splash out from behind his drums as the architect of the Test pulse. Bassist Heyner is the junior partner in this consortium, but he’s wizened far beyond his years in the ebb and flow of his role on the frontline and the collective rhythmic pulse. The closing number on their disc, the number-one-with-a-bullet-single in a better world than this, asks a heavy question of its own. When all is played-out above ground and below, “what are you going to do?” (Aum Fidelity)