Bassist/composer Mario Pavone split his previous CD between trio and quintet groupings. On Boom he takes the mean, leading an adventurous quartet with longtime collaborator pianist Peter Madsen, omnipresent drummer Matt Wilson, and the industrious Tony Malaby, Pavone's most recent saxophone foil. The quartet deftly navigates Pavone's charts with tightly knit, rhythmically charged ensemble heads and spacious solo sections. Pavone also rearranges two compositions by the late saxophonist Thomas ChapinPavone's closest musical ally for nearly twenty years. They honor Chapin's legacy and fit comfortably alongside Pavone's originals, demonstrating how he continues to explore musical approaches they developed together, while maintaining his compositional identity.
The leader's thick tone sets the mood on "Julian, subdued with unhurried movement, embellished by Wilson's tempered drumseach note's attack is distinct. "Not Five Kimono opens with the rhythm section locked in to a quirky figure, accented by Malaby's soprano, before he steps aside for Madsen's percussive piano. After a bleating soprano run, Pavone's bass signals the return to the head and the group immediately complies. A lolling swing develops in "Arkadia, but after a crafty Pavone solo, the rhythm becomes blunt, hammering down the beats behind Malaby's muscular tenor.
Chapin's "Bad Birdie gets a lively reading, though somewhat looser compared to the live version on Menagerie Dreams. It effectively spotlights each musician, especially Wilson's implied melody from the drums and Madsen's strident solo. "Out and About, the other Chapin tune, similarly has a brisk unison introduction driven by its rhythm, with Wilson digging into the quasi-march feel and urging the soloists to deliver. Malaby and Pavone match wits against the repetitive, rhythmic piano line of "Arc, while the drums and sax link up on "Bastos, countering the piano and bass, Pavone the epicenter of the musicians' orbits.
Julian; Not Five Kimono; Arkadia; Po; Bad Birdie; Short Yellow; Arc; Bastos; Interior Boom; Out and About.
Mario Pavone (bass/composer); Tony Malaby (tenor and soprano saxophones); Peter Madsen (piano); Matt Wilson (drums).