You might assume the recording In Layers is another vehicle in Luís Vicente's meteoric rise to the top of improvisational music. If you guess this you are both wrong and somewhat right. While the Portuguese trumpeter has distinguished himself in the Twenty One 4Tet with John Dikeman and Wilbert de Joode, in Chamber 4, Fail Better!, Clocks And Clouds, Frame Trio, Deux Maisons, and the Luís Vicente Trio, you wouldn't know he was the headliner here.
Vicente leads by collaborating equally with and abetting this quartet. By championing the music of drummer Onno Govaert, guitarist Marcelo dos Reis, and pianist Kristján Martinsson, he raises the ebb and flow of this session and thus its tidewaters.
Govaert performs in Cactus Truck with Dikeman, and Twenty One 4Tet with Vicente, likewise dos Reis and the trumpeter are members of Chamber 4 and Fail Better!. Martinsson is the new name here, best known as a member of the K Trio.
The quartet's untroubled approach is heard on the opener, "Glaze," a casual coming together of threads or maybe better puzzled pieces of sound. Rattling drums, sprinkled guitar licks, slurred trumpet licks, and echoing piano notes come together as a magnet pulls iron in its direction. This attractiveness is heard throughout. "Varnish" applies an eerie touch with Vicente's muted horn hovering above the bowels of the piano, ticking percussion. The mood lightens on "Tempera," with some percussive guitar and the forward drive of Martinsson's piano and Govaert's drums. What distinguishes this quartet is the shared sense of objective here. Each player contributes equally to the music making, all in support of a leaderless sound.