A textural and improvisational tour de force from Elliot Bild and the Zone, ISMS, recorded live, consists of ten selectionsnine of which are Bild originalsand offers up an evening of intelligent and enlightening jazz.
"Army of Aliens (Your Thoughts)" opens the set and is a classic hard-bop burner with Bild and saxophonist Hudson-Casanova lifting off the launch pad. "Lines and Dots" is a tasty bossa with an angular melodic head reminiscent of Oliver Nelson's symmetrical melodic patterns.
Bild has complete command of his axe across the entirety of his horn and across the session. He possesses an inviting, gorgeous tone, and the unique ability to modify it colorfully. Check out "What's Within," a misterioso-like whisper, parrying deftly in breath-tones with fine bassist, Nicholas Salcido. This is a fine young trumpeter whose improv influences (Terell Stafford, John Swana, and Woody Shaw) are readily apparent. However, he is certainly his own music man.
As composer, Bild's compositions are engaging, colorful platforms for this piano-less group. He has a penchant for the more modern compositional approach, i.e., angular with lots of fourths and fifths. That technique and its modal harmonic underpinnings allow leeway for soloists to blow onand they take advantage gleefully. The vibes/guitar/bass set-up, along with Gusten Rudolph's terrific drums, gives ISMS somewhat of a cooler, liquid orchestration. The communication across this ensemble is energized and fun to hear.
As leader, Bild is generous, allowing his marvelously talented Zone mates to stretch out liberally. Check out guest James Santangelo's killer piano and altoist Michael Hudson-Casanova's jaunts on the modal mover, "Numb." "Subconscious Resentment" hits with a walking Salcido bass/Perry guitar "X Files"-like intro before the trumpet and alto statement pops in and a fine sax solo follows. "Parallels of Latitude" is another straight ahead cooker with a catchy melodic head. "Law and Order" is a deep portrait that offers Steve Perry's fine vibes and Bild's singing horn. There's a terrific Salcido bass solo there, too. The title track concludes the live date with an angular head after which Bild, Lombardelli, et al, take off to ignite each other's fires, the live audience, and assuredly future listeners.
ISMS offers an hour's worth of terrific listening.
Army of Aliens (Your Thoughts), Lines and Dots, What's Within, Numb, Fighting, Subconscious Resentment,
Parallels of Latitude, Fighting What's Within, Law and Order, ISMS