Crunch is a welcome edition to this seemingly bold new era of 'Modern Jazz'. Here we have three New York City based musicians who summon our imaginative powers as they stylishly meld their disparate voices in a slightly offbeat manner. Slide guitarist Dave Tronzo, bassist J.A. Granelli and saxophonist Peter Epstein are among those willing to take chances in today's fertile jazz scene as their respective resumes prove that notion beyond a reasonable doubt. With Crunch, the musicians pursue otherworldly sounds along with shifting undercurrents and shrewd three-way dialogue on pieces such as 'Long Blue Dream' and 'Thing # 6' while also integrating blues/jazz riffs mainly due to Tronzo's heterogeneous stylizations and Granelli's meticulous yet solid underpinnings. Here and throughout, the musicians convey engagingly peculiar motifs and subtle inferences of an often-hypnotic nature. 'Dance Of The Hillbilly Robots' commences as an affable country/blues propagated by Tronzo's tasty slide guitar licks while Epstein's delicately probing yet richly melodic soprano sax lines emit a noticeable degree of ebullience and depth. 'Thing # 4' is something of a quixotic rendezvous featuring engrossing patterns and Epstein's dainty yet luminous phrasing performed on soprano sax. On this piece and others, the band affords the listener an opportunity to let his or her mind drift off into the limitless void as the musicians also maintain an agreeable yet understated flow. The intensity levels vary from tune to tune as the musicians turn up the heat in spots, via cunning improvisation and meaningful dialogue. All told, there's quite a bit going on under the hood here as the musicians tend to push matters onto a higher plane through thought provoking propositions and ethereal soundscapes. Recommended!
David Tronzo; Slide Guitars: Peter Epstein; Saxophones: J.A. Granelli; Basses.