Recorded live at The Manhattan Center in New York on October 17, 1998 and produced by Rob Walls & Paul Siegel for Hudson Music, Ltd., under exclusive license to Stretch Records, Inc., this innovative quartet comes together with a wallop. Each of the foursome is an experienced leader, and each artist meets the criteria of Chick Corea’s Stretch label. The session is adventuresome, modern, and of high quality.
Each member of the quartet supplied two compositions for this performance. Bob Mintzer leads the ensemble with a wide-open attitude toward solo space, while John Abercrombie matches that spirit with several different guitar textures. Building a solo, particularly on Peter Erskine’s "Bass Desires," each melody-maker starts out quietly and builds gradually, heating up degree by degree. Similarly, Erskine demonstrates the effectiveness of starting his solo as minimalism and building ever so gradually. However, since he’s turning the spotlight over to John Patitucci’s acoustic bass, Erskine saves it for the end of the piece, where the ensemble comes together and sets the house on fire. The bassist, who plays both acoustic and electric models on the session, prefers to caress a melody rather than shout it out. Introducing his melody on "The Well" with stand-up bass, Patitucci delivers in a vocal manner with emotion before launching a riff over which "the horns" improvise. Erskine composed "Cats + Kittens" with a modified Bo Diddley beat so that electric bass and drums can lay down a solid foundation over which a wild electric guitar improvises. Mintzer’s up-tempo "Modern Day Tuba" takes a samba beat out into the streets, providing a fitting way to end the program. Members of this quartet come from different backgrounds; yet, they share in what they do on stage with mutual appreciation. The result is an outstanding performance.
Personnel: Bob Mintzer- tenor saxophone; John Abercrombie- guitar; John Patitucci- bass; Peter Erskine- drums.