On Forward in All Directions, pianist and bandleader Andy Milne brings various musical elements to play, including electronics and spoken word alongside some masterful playing and chemistry from his bandmates. The album kicks off with "Hopscotch," an up-tempo number centered on Aaron Kruziki's saxophone with a smart backbeat from the rhythm section. "Photograph" introduces electronics in the background. The groove breaks for some spoken word from John Mooney about looking at old pictures, and then the dynamic lowers for great piano and saxophone improvised moments.
"Into The Mirror, Darkly" is an eerie-sounding tune that begins with a few solo measures by bassist Christopher Tordini, who is joined subtly by Milne almost a minute into the track, followed by Kenny Grohoski's, which drums appear almost as if recorded from a great distance. Kruziki then comes in with a Middle-Eastern inspired melody on clarinet with some electronic sounds behind him as the drums come to the fore.
One of the great surprises is "Katharsis," which features guest performers Jean Baylor and Gretchen Parlato on wordless vocals that frame the piece alongside Kuziski on bass clarinet. It is a great moment of creativity as the ensemble finds subtle improvisational moments around Moon's spoken word. Another highlight is the closing track "How And When Versus What," a tour de force with changing tempos that includes a harrowing guitar solo from guest Ben Monder.
Hopscotch; Photographs; In the Mirror, Darkly; Search Party; Katharsis; Nice to Meet You; The Trust; How and When Versus What; Fourteen Fingers; Headache in Residence.
Andy Milne: piano, prepared piano, Fender Rhodes & synthesizers; Aaron Kruziki: soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, douduk, alto saxophone & additional keyboard programming; John Moon: vocal poetics; Christopher Tordini: acoustic & electric bass; Kenny Grohowski: drums & percussion; Ben Monder: guitar (4,8,10) Jean Baylor:lead vocal
(5); Gretchen Parlato: additional vocals (5)
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