Mario Pavone brings in a stripped down version of the band he has worked with in the recent past for Boom. He couldn't have done better than choose these three players. They chip in and put all the pieces together so compactly that it would be hard to imagine any other band reaching in and reacting to the music as marvellously as they have done.
With the exception of two tunes from Thomas Chapin, the music was composed by Pavone. There is much that goes on here. To tip the hat to that cliché, Pavone wears a coat of many colours. And thank the stars he does. He writes with an ear for melody, but it is his intuition in adding the breadth and the scope, in the constant reshaping of the song, that makes his music so exceptional.
The blues hue "Bastos" mainly through the piano of Peter Madsen as he swerves the phrases in during his conversation with Tony Malaby, whose tenor initially grounds the movement in earthy notes and then takes flight soaring in short thrusts. Malaby turns around and offers soaring, long lines that float in luminous grace on "Arc," a ballad that has an intense emotional core. If one tune has to be chosen to profile the interplay which takes music to a higher plateau, then "Not Five Kimono" serves the purpose well. The tune never settles into a defined groove. The landscape keeps shifting, the drive coming from Matt Wilson, whose time and meter direct the tempo as Malaby dissects and probes on the soprano.
The shifting sands of time come on "Arkadia," which opens on a sprightly note, only to deceive. The head stated, Pavone takes over the reins. He makes every note on the bass tell a story, no matter if it comes in single exclamation or in a flurry. And when he gets into the sway, the band grabs on to his leash and goes out with a swinging good time. Finally there's "Out and About," a Chapin tune. Pavone scampers, Malaby jabs before getting linear, form and structure volatile and malleable. Madsen changes that, romping along to Wilson's marching beat before it all goes out on a folksy step-to. And if truth be told, there's never a dull moment!
Personnel: Mario Pavone--bass; Tony Malaby--tenor and soprano saxophones; Peter Madsen--piano; Matt Wilson--drums