For the unknown and misunderstood workings of Joseph Jarman, the untrained ear might hear a slop of unorganized noise that transfers into freeform jazz. To the trained ear, it might just be the same thing as Jarman showcases through his 1991 release, Inheritance. A sculpted masterwork of intensity, raging ecstasy, and performance that delivers; Inheritance is as twisted as it is engaging.
From the first moments of the self-titled track “Inheritance”, the abrasive chords and horns that swing down in a limping, almost destructive manner. The percussion that rolls along as if it is being tortured and forced into a regressive state. Somehow, the mayhem is described and explained through this message of whirl-winding instrumentals. The strange overall nature allows Jarman to create within a professional sound quality, but through unfiltered thoughts. The saxophone is his way of speaking and crying out as the rapid thrills squeak out in chaos. Freeform jazz is at its height here with very little in a form of rhythm along the path of Inheritance.
As the following movement, “Petite Fleur” dances into the ballroom; Jarman decides to take a closer following to the piano and gentle movements. If being able to sit through the first title cut, then the listener is rewarded with a cascading instrumental and progressive stance on jazz. Jarman as intelligent as he was, is able to cast a shadow that can appear as a twisted figure that is difficult to understand within the first moments of horror. But as the shadow contorts and becomes more approachable, Inheritance is actually quite beautiful. It is a charismatic piece that strolls, taking the listener by the hand and forcing them through both hell and heaven.
Inheritance even shares instances of faster, almost nods to the 1920’s and 30’s jazz movements with rolls and fills on the percussion taking up most of the sound. Jarman was an experimentalist dream, from his stage presence to the play style; there was something just immaculate about his energy to the craft. “Old Time South Street Dance” is one of those cases where the band is at a higher level of pushing and pulling. Inheritance is an interactive piece that begs to be heard and take full attention from the listener. Without this constant attention, the tracks start to lag behind and become lost through this much more intense translation.
With Jarman finally winding down toward a seeming end, he takes Inheritance to the frontlines of jazz styling’s. He ignores the rule books that define a genre and instead opt for something less clean, more emotional, and harder to be approached by the everyday audience. It is a musician’s dream and the segues that he takes are similar to the moments in his life that poured over into creation within no limits.