In Transit: Shifting Moods (2011)
The program offers a fluctuating sequence of peaks, valleys, narrow passageways and curvy detours, under the portents of structure and emotive exchanges by Stevens and saxophonist Jurg Solothurnmann. "Last Famous Words" yields an in-depth glimpse of the quartet's complexion. Oliver Lake / Christian Weber / Dieter Ulrich delivers a ragtag percussion vista, using his cowbell and drum kit. But it's Stevens who spatially puts the theme-building exercise in motion with stunted block chords, intimating a primary melody that is shaped and shifted throughout, laying the groundwork for group-centric expansion. With Solothurnmann's whispery sax parts, the quartet gravitates toward a gently rising asymmetrical pulse, consummating the bridge with a hard stop. The reinvention phase then sets in, with Stevens speeding up the tempo into a circular, but slightly fragmented loop, followed by his band mates' rather vengeful assault.
Shifting Moods looms as an appropriate metaphor for the album that resides on an imaginary pedestal within the hordes of avant-garde-tinged products that lack originality and entertaining characteristics.
Track Listing: From Above--Very Spring; Color Deep; Spices & Devices, Part 1; Spices & Devices, Part 2; Dream Talk; Last Famous Words; Open End.
Personnel: Jurg Solothurnmann: soprano and alto saxophones; Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Daniel Studer: bass; Dieter Ulrich: drums.
Record Label: Konnex Records
Style: Modern Jazz