Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Art Bailey Trio, Quiet As A Bone

Some piano trios blow you out of the water with the sheer force of the improvisations. Others do other things. The Art Bailey Trio, as heard on Quiet As A Bone (HRL Records RAT-002), do those other things.

Art Bailey wows you with his very quirky compositions. They are harmonically advanced, melodically unexpected, chromatic/a-chromatic and delightfully asymmetrical.

Other than two group improvs, the disk features Art's pen as much as his piano and the trio's appealingly loose-tight improvisational stance. In Michael Bates, bass, and Owen Howard, drums, he finds a perfect compatibility, a locking-in of sound and sense.

So what does it sound like? There is a hint of the early-mid Paul Bley trios and Herbie Nichols, but only that. This is original sound, very hip, straightforward outness.

And the mesh between composition and improvisation is tight. Art has a strong idea of where he's going and the trio goes with him as a unity.

This is something to hear. If you dig modern-new-thing-avant piano trios, do not miss this.

For more information and to order a copy, past the following link into your browser: http://www.artbailey.org/listen/

Monday, July 30, 2012

Andrew Lamb, Rhapsody in Black

The new Andrew Lamb album Rhapsody in Black (No Business NBCD 40) pairs Lamb's saxes, flute, clarinet and conch with bass, tuba and dijeridoo by Tom Abbs and the two drummer/percussionists Michael Wimberly and Guillermo E. Brown.

The wealth of color/tonal possibilities built into this lineup is well realized in a freely rolling four-number set. Throughout Lamb shows us he has his own way with each of the instruments and the band does a fine job supporting and contributing to the complex mix.

There's a ritual feeling on "Initiation" that devolves into a good dialogue between Andrews clarinet, the swirling percussion-drums and Abb's boomingly zoned-in bass.

"Rhapsody in Black" begins with some sensitive and smart drums-bass free preluding. Maestro Lamb lets loose with some red-white heat on tenor that maps out a universe of sounds and exhortations--Lamb's sax work at it's best. Abbs solar-flaring tuba and the dynamic Wimberly-Brown free-teaming keep the fires burning.

"To Love in the Rain (Portrait of a Virtuous Woman)" has up-tempo walking, quietly swinging-free drums and Andrew coming out with some flute & conch ritualism with didjeredoo (overdubbed?). It's a contrast interlude that brings us down to earth after the fire of "Rhapsody" and so it comes at the right time.

"Song of the Miracle Lives" gives us a invocation kind of beginning with Andrew on solo alto, bass and percussion quietly entering underneath. The band builds nicely to some high energy onslaughts while keeping into the invocation mode.

So there it is: excellent sounding Lamb saxophonics and the potent bass/tuba drums/percussion lineup.

If you don't know Lamb's work, this is a good place to start. If you already do, this adds some ritual-earthy-cosmic zones to what you know. And the band is on it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Andy Jaffe, Manhattan Projections, Reissue

Pianist, arranger, composer Andy Jaffe runs a gamut between hard-bopping mid-sized ensemble jazz and piano duets on the reissued Manhattan Projections (Big Round 8922).

Andy sounds great throughout and he is in some fast company. Smitty Smith, drums, Branford Marsalis on soprano and tenor, Wallace Roney, trumpet, John Clark, French horn, Tom McClung, second piano, and a host of others make some very good contributions in a series of three lineups from 1984, 1991 and 1998.

The pieces are together and the players are in the pocket.

It's straight-ahead and well-played. I hope we soon can hear more of his work and what he is doing now.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cheryl Pyle, Sound Sculptures

Cheryl Pyle's new album Sound Sculptures (self-released) pulls together where she is as an artist--flautist, bassist, composer, poetess.

It's twelve pieces of pure Cheryl. Her compositions are chamber jazz in the best sense of the term. Like Giuffre she maps out musical motifs in bare-boned contexts--often her flute and electric bass in combination--and builds improvisations around the thematic material. She has a beautiful tone on flute and an ear for phrasings that have new music elements as well as those of "jazz." Some tribal bedrock can be felt too in the twists and turns of some of the riffs.

Max Ridgway joins her on guitar for several tracks for good result. And she overdubs two or more flutes at times for rich harmonies. And sometimes her flute has some electronic enhancements. That works too. Her poetry, one example here with electronic flute compositional framing, is soulful and full of feeling.

This is music. Cheryl Pyle music. Expect something else and you wont get it. It takes a few listens to find your balance because this is not a typical "jazz" album. But once you do, you have the experience of entering an original world that has some marvelous flute playing, some conceptual uniqueness and compositional frameworks that stand out. Give it a listen! The mp3 link to purchase from Cheryl is .. http://www.cherylpyle.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ben Powell, New Street: A Tribute to Stephan Grappelli

Ben Powell plays violin in ways that extend the post-Hot Club style of the late Stephan Grappelli. There's warmth, a generous vibrato, a capacious amount of technique and a rhapsodic projection.

On his album New Street (self-released) he shows all of this to good effect. The album divides into two interrelated halves. One is a violin-piano-bass-drums quartet playing originals and a few standards. Everyone is quite good, and in a modern vein, but Ben is front-and-center as the star attraction. He impresses.

The second half is made up of the Stephane Grappelli Tribute Trio: Ben, Gary Burton on vibes and Julian Lage on guitar. They play the piece "Gary," which was written by Grappelli for Mr. Burton but not played on record until now. Then there is another evocative Grappelli composition and a number that evokes his earlier Hot Club days.

Ben Powell comes off as an impressive artist. He can play a sort of post-Gypsy modern and he can dig deeper into the tradition, but he does so as himself, in spite of the strongly anchored roots.

This is delightful music from start to finish. Whether or not you have been a Grappelli fan for years, I think you'll emerge from listens to this album as a Ben Powell fan.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Anders Gahnold Trio, Live at the Glenn Miller Cafe, 2008

Ayler Records' Download Series yields treasures for those willing to explore and experiment. I've heard them all at least once and covered many in the various blogs in the past several years. There are still a few left of interest that I'll be discussing in the coming months.

Today, altoist Anders Gahnold and his trio Live at the Glenn Miller Cafe (Ayler Download aylDL-089).

It's Gahnold with Erik Ojala, bass, and John Stahlgren, drums, recorded at the cafe in Stockholm on July 4, 2008.

The sound is clear, the mood good. The trio lets loose on seven blowing tunes. The trio is loose and open; the music is more freebop than free-form, in that there is riff, tonality, rhythmic pulse as a constant.

Sometimes Gahnold and company remind a little of Air, Threadgill's seminal trio, or something the late Thomas Chapin did with this sort of lineup.

In other words Anders plays with fire and thrust in bluesy and jazz-phrased outness while the rhythm section provides strong anchorage yet is loose and fire-y as well.

It's a very nice set and a very good example of Gahnold's convincing way. The download is available only at Ayler Records' website (see link on this page). For a couple of bucks you get something nice here!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nate Wooley, Christian Weber, Paul Lytton, Six Feet Under

Since I write all the reviews myself for my three music blogs, I sometimes find the task of listening, evaluating and writing up the articles (usually 15 per week) rather taxing and, when the wolf is at my door as it is at the moment, a huge amount of time that might be more productively spent on survival attempts. My partner gives me those looks, which mean "why are you still doing this?" and I cannot blame her. But I am of course devoting enough time to the survival front in all truth. And I do know that the discipline of this rather rigorous regime reaps quite considerable dividends in terms of my understanding of the current situation regarding "serious" musics of various genres. I have the remote hope also that someone might once again be willing to pay me for my efforts not too far down the road.

And when an LP like the one at hand appears, I remember why I listen. We have today a thoroughly outside trio adventure. Trumpeter Nate Wooley, bassist Christian Weber and drummer Paul Lytton kick up plenty of dust on their Six Feet Under (No Business LP16), a spontaneously open set of trio improvisations that situate the three on the nether fringes of avant invention.

Nate is in an all-sounds, many notes and the notes and tones in-between those notes and tones mode. He is afire with ideas throughout.

Christian is in a complementary mode. He plays a great deal of bass on these sides and what he does supports, cajoles and sets the trio off in good directions.

Paul Lytton too is in a highly creative mood, with his wonderfully busy, acoustically distinctive free sound-sculpting in sharp focus.

This LP is printed up in an edition of only 300, which tells you something about what "No Business" means these days. It's a very good trio outing, with Nate Wooley in great form. So grab one if you are inclined.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rova Sax's Orkestrova to Perform an Electric Version of Coltrane's Ascension, Need Your Help in KickStarter Campaign

Coltrane's Ascension remains perhaps the seminal composition that came of of the jazz avant garde of the '60s. The Rova Sax Quartet has been one of the important forces in later avant jazz. They have formed the twelve-member group Orkestrova to perform Coltrane's landmark piece and they need your contributions to help with the production costs.

Specifically the Kickstarter campaign is to raise funds for a stand-alone concert video of a one-time-only performance of Electric Ascension at Guelph Jazz Festival in Canada on September 7, 2012.

Head on over to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1737726083/channeling-coltrane-a-concert-video-of-electric-as to find out more and chip in a few bucks if you can afford it.

Note: I very rarely including this kind of post on my sites, but in this case I think it's a very cool idea.

Ballister, Mechanisms, Dave Rempis with Lonberg-Holm and Nilssen-Love

Ballister is the confluence of Chicago alto-tenor-baritonist Dave Rempis and the Europeans Fred Lonberg-Holm and Paal Nilssen-Love, the former on cello and electronics and the latter of course on drums.

Mechanisms (Clean Feed 245) puts the three together live at the Hideout, Chicago, in late 2010.

Fred Lonberg-Holm's cello in place of the expected double bass lightens up the texture of the music and gives more general frequency presence to what Fred is doing.

It's a three-way freeway with three lengthy group-conceived extemporaneous workouts presented.

The group builds up energy that explodes in alto-cello-drums mayhem for the opening "Release Levers." "Claplock" tones it down and gives some space for Rempis's inspired saxophony, a phraser of stature, sound color master, post-Ayler, post-AACM wizard. Nilssen-Love reminds us why he is one of Europe's premier free-drummers while Lonberg-Holm gets some interesting lines going in his own right. Rempis returns for some lucid wailing. He doesn't always go where you expect and where he goes is something to hear. They get into another froth and Dave is in fine fettle. The final "Roller Nuts" kicks it up a couple notches with blow-out extroversions that will wake anybody up who has ears.

There is some very fine free sax trio music to be heard on Mechanisms. It says much about what sort of connection the three made that day--a synchronicity of a definite high order.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jonas Kullhammar, Torbjorn Zetterberg, Espen Aalberg, Basement Sessions Volume 1

Creative modern improvised music has become a world phenomena. Anyone who listens to the total output in the genre in the last 20 years will be impressed, surely, with the development of players young and old who call the United States home, but the rest of the world is producing very good to excellent players in increasing numbers.

It's of course been true of Europe for a long time. Today we look at a sax trio from Northern Europe, and what they did in a set titled Basement Sessions Volume 1 (Clean Feed 246). It's Jonas Kullhammar, tenor and baritone, Torbjorn Zetterberg, double bass, and Espen Aalberg on drums.

Kullhammer has been making a name for himself in a series of recordings. He sounds especially primed on this one. He has sound and he does vertical invention with fluidity and soul. Perhaps the very lively collaboration of his rhythm team-mates inspired him to take things further. Zetterberg is a richly toned, very together player; Aalberg has drive and push on the drums.

It's bluesy, modal, well-heated fare. The blowing vehicles are just right for the blowing that's going on. It's a very good showing from three very promising and together improvisers. It has roots but it blows over them with immediacy. So there you are!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Narada Burton Greene, Live at Kerrytown House

Narada Burton Greene has been a part of the new improvisation music scene for so many years, he has been such a singular presence within it, he practically has become an institution of one. The Burton Greene of today is flourishing, a pianist-composer-improviser of many facets, a creator who thrives in his embodiment of tradition and change, freedom and structure, the past and the future.

Or so it seems to me as I listen to his solo performance Live at Kerrytown House (No Business NBCD 39).

Maestro Greene is like a coral island, each piece of what it is to be Burton Greene remains, the earlier conjoining with successive waves of later developments, nothing left behind but everything coming to bear on the present now of what he plays today.

So on this solo set you hear some of the "free" elements of early Greene, the more composed avant elements, the expressively improvised tonalities, melodic originality, harmonic movement, a hint of stride and bop, all a part of who Burton Greene is today.

It is no-frills Burton Greene, an essentialist pairing down that is decidedly NOT generic. He sounds satisfyingly, undeniably like himself. Unpredictable, not reducible to a set of influences because he has gone his own way all this time. And here he is, in the present-day, giving us almost 80 minutes of who he is.

It might surprise even the most well-versed Greene aficionado. He goes to places unexpected at times, but he brings it all together for us in the end, in the middle, the beginning.

This is serious music that lifts you up and sets you down in another place. Each segment hits you like a wave on the beach, ever different, no two exactly alike, but once you know what's coming (or rather you know you don't know) it gives you musical satisfaction.

This isn't a summing up, for there is no doubt much more to come. It is a summing in, a faithful portrait of part of who Burton Greene is today.

So listen and I think it will put you someplace nice.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Red Trio and Nate Wooley, Stem

The Red Trio have made an impact with several excellent albums in the past several years. For this latest they add the forceful presence of trumpeter Nate Wooley in a set they entitle Stem (Clean Feed 249).

Rodrigo Pinheiro, piano, Hernani Faustino, double bass, and Gabriel Ferrandini, drums, aka the Red Trio, have struck me consistently as an avant improvisational unit that has both passion and great smarts. They are deliberate as well as spontaneous; they get a great deal of interplay happening without responding overtly to one another much of the time. Each member goes in a similar direction to realize a particular musical moment in time and the consistency of result is very high.

With the addition of Nate Wooley there is a vibrant fourth color to work off of--and both Nate and the trio are very actively colorful soundmasters. The results are not necessarily denser, but there is more potential sound-figure spontaneity to work off of. And that potential is very much actual in this set.

All four players can flow lines or share a piece of the collective line constructed. Both happen with intelligence and passion, fire and implied endlessness.

I especially like how Rodrigo and Nate, as the front liners, work together, one punctuating the other, both streaming lines together. And then Hernani becomes a third line, Gabriel a fourth, so that everybody is soloing/nobody is soloing in a dynamic give and take.

It's an inspired set of freedom sounds. Listening should be the response. That was mine. It pays the aesthetic dividend of a statisfying artistic-musical communion of self and disk! So try that out if you can spring for a copy.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Will Guthrie, Sticks, Stones and Breaking Bones

One of things I've been all my life is a drummer. Being that, I generally appreciate drum solos, especially excellent ones. Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Barry Altschul, Andrew Cyrille, Tony Williams are a few that come to mind who have excelled, and of course many others.

Probably one of the hardest things to do is a full album of drum solos. To make it interesting, to make it musical is a great challenge. Others have done it lately; Will Guthrie just did it too on his Sticks, Stones & Breaking Bones (Antboy Music GA032).

It is drumming as music. First the set. He gets a good balance between cymbals and heads, all tuned together and well-miked for a vibrant sound. Then the playing itself, in part a product of working with simple motifs that can be transformed and extended--much like a fugal subject if very good can be subjected to all kinds of reworkings.

"Sticks" works out a fairly short series of these transformations. "Stones" is a sound and sound event sort of thing, with pointilistic-fanfare-like, rhythmically asymmetrical passages that are quite inventive and sonically totalized.

"Breaking Bones" is a long and nearly breathtaking transformational mantra-barrage. There are at times a taste of the ritual aspect of Japanese Kodo drumming. There's is a little something of Ginger Baker's "Toad" solos in their various incarnations. The beats repeat insistently and transform along the lines of a fugal subject as discussed above. It's an impressive and exhilarating piece of music.

This is one of the most interesting, musical and exciting drum solo recordings I've heard. If that sounds like something you would want to hear, then you are who this was recorded for. Highly recommended.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Noah Howard Quartet, The Bremen Concert, 1975

There is more than one Noah Howard, as students of his music know.

Today, though, we have Noah on alto in January 1975, with an excellent quartet of Kakashi Kako on piano, Kent Carter, bass, Oliver Johnson, drums, in The Bremen Concert (JaZt Tapes CD-027). It's an acceptable quality recording from a radio broadcast of a 40 minute set by the band. The balance is not perfect, the mid-range and bass frequencies a trifle muffled and boomy, but the performance is very good. Noah and band are in a Trane inspired vein from the start, with a version of "Ole," followed by a modal-centered blast off on "Pearl Stream".

"New Arrival" has a quieter, cascading, expanded key-centered cosmic thing going on, Kakashi sounding a bit like Alice Coltrane in John's later band and a ravishing, soaringly lyricial Noah in great form. "Ziki" has a "My Favorite Things" three-feel and Noah kicks off with his own handle on what a solo overtop of that can be.

It's fine music from a committed quartet and gives us a good look at the Noah Howard of 1975 in a particular zone. Once one gets used to the limitations of the audio source, one is in for some good sounds indeed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Frode Gjerstad & Paal Nilssen-Love, Side By Side

The world of Euro-improv has had the good fortune to be blessed for many years with two consummate artists, Frode Gjerstad and Paal Nilssen-Love. After 18 years of on-and-off collaborations, gigs and improvisational occasions, it was a great idea to get the two together as a duet in 2008 to explore their mutual resonances and express the resplendant "now" of their artistic development.

And so such a meeting took place in the CIMP Spirit Room. The result is the CD Side By Side (CIMP 3388). It's a wide-ranging exchange of free ideas in seven segments, Paal of course manning the drums in his effervescent, stylistically distinctive way, Frode coming through with his own originally charged complements on alto, clarinet and bass clarinet.

This is music with plenty of teeth. It is a chance to hear the two engage in spontaneous interchanges without the safety net of a larger ensemble. They do not falter and they do do seem anything less than inspired throughout.

Frode weaves sonically vibrant and noted discourse of a very fluid sort; Paal hurls the music forward with tumbling, sonically exact barrages of energy and arrhythmic invention.

It's a very good go, an important documentation of two masters in a slice of time, and it's avant improvisation that should go quite far in satisfying those lovers of freedom sounds everywhere.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jeremy Long, In Suspension

The organ trio, as we who listen to what's coming out well-know, is undergoing a revival. Much of the music is "in the tradition," hearkening and paying tribute to the classic era of what went before.

Not all that many are carving new or staking out lesser explored territories within the form. Jeremy Long is one, on In Suspension (Innova 827). Jeremy is a tenor who has a kind of hardness in his sound and an aggressively swinging quality, something that Joe Henderson did so well. Long's compositions take the organ trio to contemporary places.

Drummer Jason Tiemann gets a groove happening in a modern way and can do some hip soloing too. Organist Steven Snyder goes beyond the Jimmie Smith, et al, mode into a post-middle-period-Larry-Young sort of feel.

This is not cutting edge avant jazz. What it is is very competent, enjoyable, contemporary mainstream mid-late Blue Note style grooving, organ trio mode. And that's a pleasure to hear.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kali. Z. Fasteau, Making Waves, 2004

From time to time in the past months I have been covering some of the more interesting releases of Kali. Z. Fasteau. She is an multi-instrumental artist and music leader who deserves more recognition, and her rather extensive body of recorded examples equally deserves to be heard.

Today we have her 2004 release Making Waves (Flying Note 9010). It's a formidable four-artist lineup of Kidd Jordan on tenor, Bobby Few at the piano, the late Sirone on bass and Kali on synth, soprano, cello, drums, vocals and mizmar. The album is comprised of several sessions recorded in 2000 and 2004.

The flow of the music is fast-paced, thanks in part to the 15 relatively short to very short improvisations and thanks to the great variety of instrumental combinations and moods addressed. Not everybody plays at all times, and so there are varying configurations of personnel as well--with much in the form of a series of duet exchanges.

This is cosmic music, as you come to expect with Ms. Fasteau, free new improv of genuine interest.

Kidd Jordan sounds fantastic, as does Bobby Few. Sirone is a fine lower presence when he is in the mix, and Kali gives the music lots of texture and torque with her very appropriate synth work, her atmospheric electronically enhanced vocals, post-Trane soprano, skittering cello, very respectable free drumming and droning mizmar.

It's a fascinating, very listenable exploration of the free zones Kali often dwells within, with a few new twists besides. And this one has the added attraction of a miniaturization that makes time go by quickly. Recommended!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Colla Parte, Fields/Figures

Colla Parte, "with the lead voice," is a nicely balanced trio that gave birth to their first CD last year, Fields/Figures (SubGeranium 56765). Daniel Barbiero (who played on Centazzo's Moon in Winter reviewed earlier) is on contrabass, Perry Conticchio mans a battery of winds, and Rich O'Meara plays vibes and percussion.

All three have facility and imagination playing in the free zone and all three work together well to create a wide variety of free chamber jazz moods and modes. That variety is advanced in part by the doubling: Rich accesses a modified drum set along with the vibes to in essence comprise two voices and Perry varies the group sound through his presence on multiple reeds.

Barbiero's arco work is especially outstanding; Conticchio's bass clarinet, sax and flute work does not mimic but rather proceeds from an inner source--his alto work is especially strong and reminds just slightly in thrust/sound of Braxton, but with an original sense of line; and O'Meara's presence on vibes is flowing and inventive.

The extensive jazz experience of the three show in the seeming ease with which they create spontaneous musical structure. The music is virtually always deliberate and well considered, with timbres, colors, densities and textures offering themselves as a kind of passing parade for the attentive listener.

It's a group whose most important work is no doubt to come. As it is this is some fine free music. I am told another release will soon be forthcoming. Bring it on!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ran Blake and Christine Correa, Down Here Below, Tribute to Abbey Lincoln Volume One

Vocalist-composer Abbey Lincoln was a giant among redwoods, a vocalist of outstanding original stature and a person whose ethics and politics drove her music to places that impacted dramatically all who heard it.

Christine Correa is a marvelous instrument in her own right. She has Abbey's sense of drama and space. Ran Blake is that tabula rasa pianist-conceptualist who has through the years made his art ever more devastatingly economic--complexly, deceptively simple.

Down Hear Below (Red Piano RPR 14599-4411-2) constitutes the first installment of Blake and Correa's tribute to Ms. Lincoln and it's a fine one.

This is not, of course, some light jazz vocalizing to put on at a cocktail party as background. It's serious, uncompromising vocal-piano art of the highest sort.

The repertoire covers music associated with Abbey's career and perhaps (I have, alas, not had the chance to listen to everything Ms. Lincoln recorded over the years) some standards done with the emphatic, articulate, horn-like insistency that was Abbey at her best.

It's a beautiful collaboration. It is high-art. It is a fitting tribute. It is not for the faint of heart (but I expect the faint of heart do not tend to read this column). It is recommended...highly.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ryan Truesdell Presents Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans

Ryan Truesdell's Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans (ArtistShare 0114) is a triumph of a new trend: the DIY public funded project. In honor of the master arranger's 100th birthday Truesdell hand-picked 10 of Evan's forgotten, unplayed arrangements tucked away in the Evans estate, assembled a crack jazz orchestra, got them ample rehearsal time and recorded this, a major new compilation of Gil Evans artistry.

It was a labor of love!

Half the music comes out of the Claude Thornhill days, including a 1950 arrangement of "The Maidens of Cadiz," prefiguring Sketches of Spain by many years, a version fascinating and worthy in its own right. There are sultry noir vocal arrangements, boppers, Gil's patented version of jazz impressionism, some excellent later-era adventuresome essays and a beautifully atmospheric version of Weil's "Barbara Song."

It's is a major Evans disk, a triumph, a delight in every sense. The band gets the arrangements honed to perfection and it's all pure Evans.

These are not afterthoughts or leftovers. They are masterpieces, miniature and otherwise.

Thank you for the selfless effort Mr. Truesdell, and thank you band! This is one to treasure.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Boris Hauf Sextet, Next Delirium, with Keefe Jackson and Jason Stein

Some music takes time to absorb. I don't always get it right away. The Boris Hauf Sextet and their Next Delusion (Clean Feed 238) was one of those. I suppose that is because it is a sextet of an unusual sort, doing things one doesn't expect.

It's three reeds--Boris Hauf (tenor, soprano), Keefe Jackson (tenor, contrabass clarinet) and Jason Stein (bass clarinet), the latter two especially known as important improvisers. And it's three drummers--Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess and Michael Hartman.

Improvisation is there throughout, and especially on the last track, but the overarching push is toward open compositional structures: long tones and chordal voicings, clicks and pops, multiple velocity jabs, and drums as color, and when they get going, as irresistibly anarchic barrages.

There's not a great deal of wind improvising in the traditional new jazz sense until the final section, where you get a cascade of three-horn energy blasts.

Once you understand the structural arch and compositional trajectory, you cease to expect something else and just sit back and let the sounds envelop you. And that for me was when I starting liking what I was hearing a good deal. It's an exercise in disciplined freedom. And it's very good!