On Ink soprano saxophonist Bhob Rainey stands alone, live onstage in front of a college crowd....Most musicians would shutter at the idea! Kind of like standing naked in public some might say? Well, Rainey does an effective job, which may be a result of his plethora of ideas, improvisational savvy and proficient musicianship. Rainey has spent some quality time with free-jazz masters Joe McPhee and Matt Maneri while also shedding with the ever-unpredictable John Zorn. Ink is one of many new releases emanating out of the burgeoning New England jazz scene.
On the first piece, titled “Anecdotal Offering” Rainey explores various motifs and technical exercises while displaying fluency and rich tonal development. At times, Rainey’s soprano sax sounds mechanical as if gears were in motion. “The Assailant Was Said To Have...Shimmered” is a bit more heated yet Rainey toggles between pensive or contemplative moods as if he were ....having a conversation with himself. On “Pigs In Mud”, Rainey is joined by pianist Dan DeChellis as they engage in colorful yet intense dialogue featuring swirling chord progressions and swift single note runs from DeChellis. It becomes rather evident that these gents were on the same plane here..
Bhob Rainey is among the young crop of stalwart, well-spoken free-jazz musicians and it shows! He maintains a high level of interest and pulls off the difficult task of keeping the listener attentive and perhaps fascinated via his meaningful dialogue, technical tenacity and gorgeous tone! * * * ½