Alto saxophonist Gavin Templeton has become a pivotal force in the L.A. progressive jazz scene and it's easily discernible, given his strong improvisational faculties, resonating tone, and penchant for bridging conventional means into the outside schema of the jazz vernacular. On his second solo release for Nine Winds Records, he embeds rock riffs, variable tempos, and odd-metered unison choruses with guitarist Perry Smith and a host of mood-evoking thematic episodes via these multicolored pieces.
The artists conclude the album with a forceful and multifaceted, jazz-rock tinged arrangement on "Volley." They initiate a straight-four groove, keenly offset with tricky unison choruses by all parties, equating to a layered soundscape also featuring the soloists' brisk lines and unexpected shifts in strategy. But pianist Matt Politano softens it up during the bridge, followed by bassist Sam Minaie's nimble and articulately expressive solo. Essentially, they mirror notions of self-reflection yet retool amid Templeton's jazzy and soul-drenched lines spiced with a few bop choruses, leading to a zesty culmination. Nonetheless, each piece on this album proclaims a contrasting storyline. Among other positives, Templeton is a resourceful and artistically inclined composer, augmented by the quartet's sympathetic accompaniment and inspired soloing forays.
Gavin Templeton: alto saxophone; Perry Smith: guitar; Matt Politano:
piano; Sam Minaie: bass; Matt Mayhall: drums.