For Outskirts, his third release as a leader, New York-based trumpeter/composer Liam Sillery assembles a progressive-thinking quintet to explore six original compositions. Sharing the frontline with alto saxophonist Matt Blostein, Sillery flirts with a free jazz mentality, mixing pre-conceived ideas with wide-open solo sections.
The opening "Prana" begins and ends with an interesting form reminiscent of vintage Wayne Shorter, replete with an airy free-form middle section with communicative blowing between trumpet and saxophone. Pianist Jesse Stacken stands out on "An Arm's Length" with expressively frantic runs over the laid-back, deep groove of bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza. Here, Sillery solos with swinging clarity, manipulating the warmth of the middle-register.
Stacken takes control of the lengthy "Black Bag" with blunt, shape-shifting ideas. The bouncy, yet edgy "Blues for Lifetime" has a captivating theme that sets up inspired soloing by Sillery, Blostein, Stacken and Sperrazza. The angular "Wrong Number" is characteristic of the underlying urgency heard in Sillery's melodies. For as layered and rhythmically complex as they are, his themes are rather clear-cut and to the point.
"Minor Change"the title track to a previous Sillery releasecomes out swinging and doesn't let up until all have had their say. The disc closer is a well-crafted, satisfying close to an extraordinary session of creative ensemble interplay and free-wheeling improvisations.
Prana; An Arm's Length; Black Bag; Blues for Lifetime; Wrong Number; Minor Change.
Liam Sillery: trumpet; Matt Blostein; Jesse Stacken: piano; Thomas Morgan: bass; Vinnie Sperrazza: drums.