is brought us by San Francisco Bay Area tenor saxophonist Ike Levin, bassist Randall Hunt and avant-garde pianist Joel Futterman. On this newly released project, the Ike Levin Trio offers a hearty set of original compositions recorded on-the-fly as they say, yet in some instances, the music and overall presentation sparks notions of a well-rehearsed improvisational unit performing previously explored concepts and motifs. One interesting note here correlates to pianist Joel Futterman's acute faculties for embedding lush melodies into the overall mix, which counterbalances many of the applications the pianist has implemented on previous recordings, highlighting his often frenzied, free-jazz stylizations.
The musicians commence the proceedings with a finely crafted twenty-two minute excursion titled, 'Scenarios', while also eliciting impressions of perhaps John Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison and McCoy Tyner expounding upon ethereal musings and harmonically rich motifs, amid various scenarios. Here, Levin demonstrates a robust tone complete with soulful lines and shrewd utilization of space and chromatic scales along with a few well-placed nods to Trane, while Futterman often provides the swirling arpeggios and sonorous dreamscapes. Essentially, the trio exchanges passionate dialogue against numerous aural vistas as Hunt effectively steers the lead soloists in and out of spiked choruses, climactic movements and free-style escapades while the musicians reconstruct previously articulated themes with blues-drenched notes and insightful resourcefulness.
The band delves into disparate terrain whether belting out an innocent and straightforward four bar blues, witnessed on 'Melon Juice' or while executing calming call and response type dialogue on 'Mr. Lekish'. The final track, 'Micro Climates' is all about inquisitive interaction, sublime lyricism, deft sound shaping and the soloist's lilting proclamations as the overall production glimmers with resplendent imagery fabricated atop loose interplay, probing statements and memorable melodies. Recommended!
* * * * (Out of * * * * *)
July '00 reviews of Joel Futterman releases
Track Listing: Scenarios, Melon Juice, InterView, Mr. Lekish, Dispatch, On Word, Micro Climates
Personnel: Joel Futterman; piano, curved soprano saxophone & Indian flute: Ike Levin; tenor saxophone, Brazilian kalimba, Canfi Indian flute & tambourine: Randall Hunt; contrabass & bells.