Monday, April 12, 2010

Peter Van Huffel Quartet, "Like the Rusted Key"

Peter Van Huffel plays alto sax in his own way, composes interesting frameworks and full-fledged works for his improvisatory quartet and fronts a well-chosen group of instrumentalists who mesh completely with the style Peter sets forth. All this for his second album Like the Rusted Key (Fresh Sound New Talent).

The band consists of Peter, Jesse Stacken, piano, Miles Perkin on the upright, and Samuel Rohrer, drums. Each of the ten pieces on the disc are well conceived and has it's own distinct musical world. They operate in an expanded tonal universe that alternately sets up a kind of modal pulsating groove, or goes flat-out orbital, works out complex rhythmic and melodic cell development, allows space for van Huffel and pianist Stacken to stretch out in free or modal terms, gives plenty of room for group dynamic and interaction, gives out with some free rocking fire, turns in a quiet spacey interlude or two, and kicks out the jams for some total free-energy moments. This is well-paced, thoughtful yet vigorous music. Van Huffel plays as well as he writes and the band is on target for the entire program.

There is no wasted space. Everything counts and nothing sounds tentative. That is a credit to Mr. Van Huffel's clear musical vision and the deft execution given by all involved. Very much recommended.

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