Sounding as real as real gets, Lifelike's forward thinking drummer/composer Jeff Williams' heady sextet sure sound like they're all sitting in on a late night, cramped back room cutting session, with each player challenging, coaxing the other to new heights and horizons.
Williams, an alumni of such name drops as Stan Getz, Dave Liebman, Ted Curson, Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano, knows a thing or twenty about assembling and writing for hot bands and Lifelike, recorded live last year at the Vortex Jazz Club in London, gallops from the gate as guest trumpeter Gonçalo Marquez goes full fusion Miles on the drummer's investigative six-bar blues, "Under The Radar." On the Monk-ish "The Interloper," John O'Gallagher's alto saxophonist steps fiercely to the bandstand fore with Williams working the seemingly boundless textures of his kit. Though Marquez leads the charge, foundational bassist Sam Lasserson drives "Dream Visitor" with winding tension and burbling funk, allowing the whole ensemblewhich includes savvy stalwarts Kit Downes on piano and tenor saxophonist Josh Arcoleoto get their say in; creating a cool wonder at how Williams, as composer and leader, controls and manages all the airspace. Two older Williams' compositions, the fugue-like "Lament" and stage-evolving "Borderline" introduce colors of New Orleans, traditional blues, and serious swing. The lengthy "Double Life" with its shifting waltz to double 4/4, closes the set, leaving you hitting replay or searching YouTube for more of Jeff Williams magnetic offerings.
Under The Radar: The Interloper: Dream Visitor; Lament; Borderline; Canaco do Amolador; Double Life.
Jeff Williams:- drums; Goncalo Marquez: trumpet; John O'Gallagher; alto sax; Josh Arcoleo: tenor sax; Kit Downes: piano; Sam Lasserson: double bass.
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