Collin Sherman – Suitable Benchmarks of Reform (2022)

Collin Sherman - Suitable Benchmarks of Reform (2022)
Artist: Collin Sherman
Album: Suitable Benchmarks of Reform
Label: Ex-Tol Recordings
Year Of Release: 2022
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

01. Phalanx Strictures
02. Rival Machinations
03. Worthless Objects and Photographs Thereof
04. Rumination Suite, Mvt. I: Meditation on Resentment
05. Rumination Suite, Mvt. II: Faults and Missteps
06. Rumination Suite, Mvt. III: Things Turn Around
07. Rumination Suite, Mvt. IV: Foundations of Serenity


Multi-reedist Colin Sherman’s thirteenth album, Suitable Benchmarks Of Reform, was made from the same template from which his previous twelve releases came into being—recording alone in his New York City apartment, recording the individual parts then layering each onto the next to make an ensemble sound. This, in the time of the arrival of the Covid virus, has become a more common practice; it is just that Sherman got a head start on the go-it-alone process.

Call it free jazz. As Sherman is primarily a saxophonist, there is a good deal of honking and squawking going on—especially with the first three tunes, with various reeds squalling along with electronic embellishments, percussion and keyboard parts. Improvisation is front and center, in Sherman’s ongoing search for truth and beauty. “Phalanx Strictures,” “Rival Machinations” and “Worthless Objects And Photographs Thereof” seem to express a state of unsettlement and psychological turbulence.

The four part “Rumination Suite” is a different matter. Representing an arc of burgeoning self awareness, each piece is built around the soprano saxophone and the bass tongue drum—and for those not familiar with the instrument, it is not played with the tongue, it is rather a drum, metal or wood, featuring “tongues” carved into its surface that, when struck, present different tones. In Sherman’s hands, on the suite, it sounds like God’s heartbeat, an underlying and immutable truth that serves as a spiritual foundation for a tranquil soundtrack to human existence, brought into beiing in a small NYC apartment. Hopefully, the neighbors are listening.

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