Lou Grassi, Tom Varner, Ron Horton, Tomas Ulrich: Neo Neo
The music is often busy and intense, but there is plenty of variety to keep the listener guessing. Three of the pieces are from Horton’s 1999 Omnitone release Genius Envy. Varner contributes six of the fifteen compositions, including the marvelously spare "Space Ballad" and the ambitious "Meditation Sketch." The three-part suite "Lopey" begins with a playful duet between Horton and Varner, then adds Ulrich for the second movement before culminating in a full-ensemble finale that almost evokes an off-kilter New Orleans band. Ulrich’s "Louless" is another trio piece; Grassi’s absence creates space for new and unexpected textures to emerge.
These performances, together with producer Robert Rusch’s lively and detailed session notes and CIMP’s scrupulous recording standards, make Neo Neo a pleasure, as well as a worthy entry in the discographies of each of the four players involved.
1. Carla Blake 2. Hemoglobin 3. For Thomas Chapin 4. Genius Envy 5. Neo Neo 6. Mini for Tomas 7. Spit It Out 8. Northern Lights 9. Space Ballad 10. Meditation Sketch 11. Louless 12. Lopey Pt. 1 13. Lopey Pt. 2 14. Lopey Pt. 3 15. Unbearable Being of Lightness
Personnel: Lou Grassi, drums; Tom Varner, French horn; Ron Horton, trumpet; Tomas Ulrich, cello
Record Label: Creative Improvised Music Proj
Style: Modern Jazz