Seminal — 4 years ago
The second and only long-player to feature the Bebop Sound Shepherd Conspiracy’s embryonic lineup of Chris Hook, Dan Bull, Alistair Henderson and Pete Douglas, Teasing Us is testament to the extraordinary ease with which the group coaxed the art form through the turbulent waters of post-Thelonian bebop. Though poorly received upon released, Teasing Us nevertheless steadily grew in popularity, establishing a devoted fanbase and paving the way for the Conspiracy to guide the fragile post-bop scene through the free jazz recession of the late 1960s.
As with many of the Freshnut sessions, each of these sonic excursions demonstrates not only a literally almost telepathic understanding between Hook and his bandmates, but a vivid engagement with the essence of the music itself. Much has been written about Hook’s playful, geometric soloing style, but only by really listening can one truly appreciate how deftly he manages to weave his meticulously calibrated timbres through intricately structured frameworks – seemingly taking great delight in employing said devices to shoot flashes of evocative tonal rhetoric through the listener’s consciousness; a subtle wink here, a tongue-in-cheek doffing-of-the-cap to the trademark themes and phrasing of his contemporaries there.
Jazz novices are often warned to give Teasing Us a wide berth, and unless you’ve a head for the dizzy heights of Hook’s literate, caustic proto-modal bop, this is perhaps one best left to the big boys – experienced connoisseurs and BSSC completionists only need apply.