After the well-received Live At The Open Gate (NoBusiness, 2016), the arrival of a second outing for the front line of cornetist Bobby Bradford and saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh doesn't come as a surprise. This time out, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Royal Hartigan (who both feature on Modirzadeh's Post Chromodal Out! (Pi Recordings, 2012) replace Mark Dresser and Alex Cline respectively, maintaining cohesion built on the same high quality rapport. That it's a band with its own identity is confirmed by the fact that everyone contributes charts on this 2016 live date from the University of Massachusetts, issued as a limited edition LP or digital download.
On the previous release, much was made of the echoes of Bradford's sometime sparring partner Ornette Coleman. That influence remains to some extent in the way themes are phrased and surfaces occasionally in Modirzadeh's alto wail, but a much stronger similarity is the expansive and generous joshing between the horns. It's a highlight of this disc, brought to a fine art on Hartigan's "Wadsworth Falls" which evokes parallels with the polyphony of early New Orleans jazz as the pair trade proposals and rejoinders. Even at 81, Bradford still possesses an impish streak, switching between muted and wah wahed expression in chuckling, muttering discourse.
For his part Modirzadeh runs together querulous yelping phrases, via false fingered bleats which mimic speech like inflections, adding to the air of unpredictability. Filiano is simply a monster, whether manifest in the wonderful combination of rich tone and lyrical resonance which provides a central thread to Bradford's slow burning blues-inflected processional "She" or the slashing bow work which announces and then careens through his own "Sillhouette." The extraordinary degree of listening and responsiveness is summed up by the way in which Filiano and Hartigan switch the lead back and forth in their break towards the end of Bradford's part calypso, part South African kwela "Ashes."
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