How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
A tight, two horn front-line, strong solo personalities, an aggressiveyet flexiblerhythm section and first-rate compositions are all part of the package on drummer Chris Massey's Vibrainium. From the first notes of the album-opening "Galactus" to the end of "Mr. Twilight," Massey demonstrates a take-no-prisoners attitude and a willingness to explore different avenues of music with great attention to detail and a good balance between explosive, raw energy and musical restraint.
The aforementioned "Galactus" starts off with a rim-dominated, high-energy groove in seven, melding with David Ostrem
While Malloy's "Smooth" is a calmer ride, it never comes close to the glossy style of music bearing its name. A relaxed swing feel dominates this song but the intensity returns for an explosive trio take on Joe Henderson
's "Inner Urge." Massey's muscular, up-tempo swing eggs Drazen on and, though Ostrem solos with great skill and provides solid rhythmic support, the most exciting moments occur when it's just drums and saxophone. "Chango"a short tom solo with a tribal-vibe to itis in the spirit of Art Blakey
's "Windows" is a showcase for Lebedev's piano work.
Lebedev's piano lines and Massey's subtle cymbal work come together in a hypnotic fashion on the title track. While most of the soloists build from a calm state to a more turbulent place of personal expressionunderscored with a crescendo of cymbal explosions from Masseya moody cloud of sound still manages to hover over "Vibrainium." Drazen's brazen soprano work overlaps with Malloy's trumpet when the song reaches its apex of intensity but the band quickly dials things down near songs end. Drazen's "Mr. Twilight"a fast, swinging vehicle with a fantastic piano solo from Lebedevends with the same burning musical passion that's displayed at nearly every moment on Vibrainium.