On his previous 2005 release, Tempest
(Soul Note), guitarist Scott DuBois aligned with prominent saxophonists, David Liebman, Loren Stillman and Jason Rigby as front line foils. Here, the artist employs German multi-woodwind ace Gebhard Ullmann for a largely, high-impact progressive jazz gala that comes right at you via sinewy discourses and complexly concocted song-forms.
Sparked by dynamic free-bop unison choruses, DuBois' intricately woven and somewhat animated single note flurries loom as a constant denominator. At times he seemingly ties his strings into knots with an array of sizzling solo spots and altogether cunning phraseology.
Ullmann toggles between tenor and soprano saxophones while offering additional contrasting elements and tones when performing on the bass clarinet. The quartet integrates lithe flows and rhythmic metrics into the grand schema, occasionally revving it all up into the red zone, nicely countered amid the soloists' emphatic exchanges.
On "Canaria," the quartet generates ethereal and subliminally penetrating movements, accentuated by Dubois and Ullmann's dark shadings as if the ensemble is navigating through a subterranean passageway.
Overall, the musicians cover a divergent panorama while maintaining a group-centric sound and style. One of the many highlights of the album is evidenced during "MouseSong," which commences as a quiet ballad then segues into a scathing motif, constructed upon stammering choruses and a pummeling aerial blitz.
The ensemble's prismatic musical outlook is based upon the artists' shrewdly devised theme-building exercises and variably morphed soloing jaunts. These elements and other facets yield the winning formula throughout.
Personnel: Scott Dubois: guitar; Gebhard Ullmann: tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet; Thomas Morgan: bass; Kresten Osgood: drums.