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Jim Baker / Steve Hunt / Jakob Heinemann: Horizon Scanners


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Jim Baker / Steve Hunt / Jakob Heinemann: Horizon Scanners
In jazz and improvisational music, the Chicago scene has long been a fertile ground for innovative soundscapes and daring musical ventures. Horizon Scanners, the latest offering from the captivating Chicagoan piano trio of Jim Baker, Steve Hunt and Jakob Heinemann, stands as a testament to this rich musical tradition. It invites listeners on an enthralling journey through sound, emotion and exploration. As the album evolves, it delves into angular, deeply exploratory soundscapes. Thus, Baker's dexterous harmonic variations blend seamlessly with Heinemann's rhythmic guile and Hunt's textural drumming.

The tracks were recorded both live and in the studio. Jim Baker's prowess on the piano serves as the heartbeat, offering expressions ranging from delicate, ethereal melodies to robust, intricate passages that weave a complex narrative. Steve Hunt's percussion work is both grounding and celestial, creating a rhythmic foundation that propels the music forward while offering moments of profound stillness and introspection. Jakob Heinemann's bass lines bind the trio's sound together, providing a harmonic anchor and melodic counterpoint that enriches the session.

The proceedings open with "Mozart," featuring Hunt's drumming intro and Baker's melancholic voicings with Heinemann's poignant lines bridging the trio's sonorous progressions as they intensify towards the closeout. On "Halting No Problem (2)," they meld a horde of mini-motifs into a high-strung free-form affair with various shades and hues, complemented by the bassist's snarling arco-lines, adding a rough-hewn edge. Baker pulls out his secret weapon, the ARP-2600 synthesizer on "Bloom," leading to bizarre encounters with his bandmates. It is a swerving asymmetrical romp, tinted with tiny delicacies and a zinging soundscape, compounded by Hunt's occasional rock beats and Heinemann's curved lines.

The album's production values deserve special mention, capturing the intimacy of the trio's interaction while presenting a spacious soundstage that allows each instrument to breathe and resonate. The recording quality is immaculate, ensuring that the subtle nuances of the performance, from the softest touch on the piano keys to the resonant hum of the bass, are preserved and conveyed with clarity and warmth. In sum, this music demands close attention and invites the listener to close their eyes and become transported by the evocative landscapes it paints.

Track Listing

Mozart; Halting (no) Problem, Pt.1; Halting (no) Problem, Pt.2; Halting (no) Problem, Pt.3; Helv; Bloom; The Ships.


Additional Instrumentation

Steve Hunt: drums and percussion; Jim Baker; ARP-2600

Album information

Title: Horizon Scanners | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records



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