How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This trio recording led by tenor saxophonist Stephen Gauci comes across as a fifty-minute suite of nearly free jazz, rather than eight tracks with their own distinct personalities. Gauci's self-penned liner notes are a good reflection of the musicesoteric and a bit circular, conveying some interesting perspectives on the nature of freedom and form in improvisation, honest in their attempt to communicate, though probably not embraceable by more than a niche audience.
In those liners Gauci distinguishes between improvising within a predetermined form ("like pouring water into a glass ), expandable form ("like filling up a balloon with air ) and free form ("like letting a herd of cows roam free to graze, but keeping an eye to see exactly where they go ). These are interesting analogies and they certainly provide the listener with a few tools to get a handle on what often seems like impenetrable music. They also raise a couple of legitimate questions: Will the listener stick around long enough to try to discern which concept the improviser is employing? And is the improviser building a succession of communicative statements or, more introspectively, looking for the next pasture in which to roam?
The intensity of Gauci's live performance comes through pretty well on the recording. The first and last tracks, "Down Day on Broadway and "The C-mode, are the most accessible and invigorating, respectively, while "Blue Gauch contains some old-fashioned thematic improvisation on a blues riff within a pre-determined form. Gauci's command of the tenor sax is formidable, and his pair of thirty-year-old trio mates, bassist Terence Murren and drummer Jeremy Carlstedt, are agile throughout.
Track Listing: Down Day on Broadway; We're Comin' Just One Time; What You Say? Blue Gauch; She Winked; Dream of the Jeremiah; Don't Forget the Poor; The C-mode.
Personnel: Stephen Gauci: tenor saxophone; Terence Murren: bass; Jeremy Carlstedt: drums.