Outer Sunset begins with generously thick, dense and spacious earthy bass lines, giving way into a Songosized jazzy march in “Mount Uno” that, in turn, becomes a more straight-ahead Latin montuno with an interesting harmonic bridge to a solo by the leader of The Sascha Jacobsen Quintet. Throughout the album Jacobsen carries, supports, drives, and triggers off melodic and harmonic reactions that enhance his percussive take on endemic convergences between jazz and Afro-Cuban music. Even so, the tune in question also features the first of various able and nimble guitar solos by Isaac Vandeveer.
The group’s tighter and cleaner moments, however, seem to lie in and around the straight-ahead sections scattered through varying portions of this nice record. Examples include “L’enfant Unique,” “A Puro Sol,” and “Carg,” with its cool stringed melodic edge at Vandeveer’s hands, as well as Miller’s sax fluttering and the piano’s charged swing. In “Fia Pash,” the straight-ahead bars featuring Patrick Miller on sax are looser, yet tighter than the rest of the body of this tune.
At times it seems that the percussionists need a bit tidying up in both timing (ironically) and what’s said when, where and why. Pianist Jorge Laval, nonetheless, shows worthy ideas in both his solos and his accompaniment. His left hand riffs and comps are worth checking out. Indeed, the first half of “Fia Pash” belongs to him and the ensuing part is Jacobsen and Miller’s deal.
The album’s bright arrangements lend themselves well to the original compositions by quintet members, who support each other well. “Curls,” for example, builds up ever so slightly and slowly into a low heated localized flame as an able small percussion scatters sensuous Brazilian-like dashes into a good example of what the good playing and writing here does at some of its finest moments. This recording also explores a sax and guitar led sound for jazz ensemble in musical contexts for which such a sound is sweetly suited, yet seldom explored.
All soloists have plenty of bars to play around with and for you to listen to. You won’t be cheated, that’s for sure!