To coincide with an extensive tour of the northeastern US, Brooklyn-based alto saxophonist Pete Robbins has issued his second effort as a leader. And it offers a rock-solid glimpse of his artistry, chops and interesting methodology, all steeped within copious jazz-related genres. Simply stated, Robbins is a style master who sets himself apart from many of his peers.
Spanning hip, jazz-funk motifs and multidirectional currents, Robbins orchestrates a dense, tight-knit and capacious sequence of overtures on Waits & Measures. Eliot Krimsky's dirty Fender Rhodes piano and Mike Gamble's slightly fuzzed-out electric guitar lines impart a jazz-fusion edge in various spots. However, Robbins' fluent alto sax lines and cagey arrangements generate a buoyant musical vista, complete with power-packed cadenzas and off-kilter shifts in momentum.
The band sustains interest by maintaining a sense of evolution and drama; rapidly paced funk or bop grooves often blossom into climactically oriented unison passages. Gamble sports a hard rock sound and demeanor on "Cankers and Medallions," where Robbins and saxophonist Sam Sadigursky execute ominous undercurrents that eventually segue into capricious movements. In sum, Robbins should win over a horde of admirers with this outing, which conveys asymmetrical parts chops, gusto, funk, fusion and a clear-sighted view of the jazz canon.
Personnel: Pete Robbins: alto saxophone, clarinet; Sam Sadigursky: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Eliot Krimsky: nord electro, Fender Rhodes, glockenspiel; Mike Gamble: guitar; Thomas Morgan: bass; Dan Weiss: drums.