Smoker - Magnuson - Filiano - Grassi: Large Music 2
With the successor to the quartet’s 2000 release, Large Music 1, the musicians’ continue their pursuance of free-bop/swing amid sequences of investigative dialogue and a plethora of lofty peaks, bottomless pits and soul searching lines. However, the band also generates briskly stated melodies on the opener, “Gwendolyn the Cat”, as trumpeter Paul Smoker and saxophonist Bob Magnuson meld raw firepower with tightly coordinated unison choruses atop bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Lou Grassi’s implosive rhythms. Meanwhile, the band exhibits a mellow side, on “Arcing,” which of course features Filiano’s extended arco bass passages and the soloists’ extended micro-themes and interrogation of disparate tonalities. Otherwise, Smoker injects a bit of pathos and whimsy into “Barefoot and Bassist,” via his employment of muted wah-wah trumpet lines and mimicking of human voices, whereas the ensemble instills quietly energetic flows along with climactic underlying movements and the rhythm section’s rumbling patterns. Overall, Large Music 2 contains an abundance of small surprises. Recommended.
Track Listing: Gwendolyn the Cat; Hold On, Hold On; Arcing; Barefoot and Bassist; Monk Key Business; Tangram
Personnel: Paul Smoker; trumpet: Bob Magnuson; tenor & alto saxophones: Ken Filiano; bass: Lou Grassi; drums