For bassist Colley's Architect of the Silent Moment, a conceptual construct (more poetically, a fantasia) for small ensemble, the oft-quoted dictum has rarely seemed more apposite: "Less is more. Colley starts with a core quartet of Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Craig Taborn (keyboards) and Antonio Sanchez (drums), and guests emerge and disappear throughout the subtle, largely written, 54-minute work. Dave Binney's alto fleshes out dodge-and-weave frontlines that recall Shorter/Davis, and wails his lone caterwaul on "From Within. Mouth-harpist Gregoire Maret limns unisons with Binney and/or Alessi at times, and hits a sweet spot on the evocatively titled "Strip Mall Ballet.
Surprising ensemble turns bookend the album and pop up as curious diversions to break up the genial yet ingenious soundscape (two three-minute tracks of gritty free-blow by Alessi and guest pianist Jason Moran precede a Rhodes 'n' piano pedal fade). The title track recalls one of those wistful, angular energy spins of Kenny Wheeler; here Colley gives us his only solo that soon duos with Moran; the ensemble re-peaks and gives way to Maret in a rebuild of majestic heraldry atop Sanchez' crafty underpinnings.
Initial regret for a perceived lack of solos soon gives way to enjoyment exploring cumulative and unrepeated group textures. Towards the end, the band wittily conjures the late Andrew Hill in a quietly understated but all-hands-on-deck "Smoke Stack.
Track Listing: Usual Illusion; Strip Mall Ballet; El Otro; Architect of the Silent Moment; Masoosong; Feign Total; From Within; Smoke Stack; Window of Time.
Personnel: Scott Colley: bass; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Craig Taborn: piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3; Antonio Sanchez: drums. Special guests: Dave Binney: saxophone; Jason Moran: piano; Gregoire Maret: harmonica; Adam Rogers; guitar.
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