Seattle drummer Brad Gibson's second release as a leader Poontet is a spicy batch of soulful grooves that belong on the soundtrack of a 1970s gritty detective film. Heavily reliant on electric instrumentation and densely atmospheric these half a dozen tracks are short on improvisational rigor without being mundane. They also allow for some soloing room for the members the sextet to showcase their individual styles.
The funky "I Hope U Make It Dirty" for instance features Gibson's percolating beats paired with bassist Jason Gray deeply resonant reverberations laying down loose hypnotic, vamps. Saxophonist Bryan Smith's muscular, agile alto meanders gracefully around the dual keyboards' chiming tones and the drum & bass duo's thumps and thuds. Pianist Ryan Burns' ethereal echoing phrases contrast nicely with the band's earthy refrains.
Another keyboardist Mack Grout's eerily haunting sound effects mark his thrilling turn in the spotlight on the shimmering and crackling "Blue Topaz." The cool energy of the rhythm section's flourishes contrast intriguingly with the front line's warm and clean intonations.
Trumpeter Scott Morning shines on the lush "Round & Round." Over cascading keys and a futuristic ambience, he blows his muted and burnished horn with passion and elegance. His fiery duet with Gibson's thunderous percussion closes the tune on a dramatic flair.
The group's engaging collective sound is evidence of their seamless camaraderie. This is nicely exhibited on "Twilight." Their complex interplay on this cinematic piece paints an impressionistic crepuscular urban scene.
Gibson peppers his compositions with hints from other genres. The intimate ballad "Andrea" has a touch Levantine lyricism and the languid "The Matriarch" traces of Latin romance.
This, relatively brief, extended play record is not particularly inventive or provocative. It does, however, make for a delightful listening experience and when the mood is right it is quite charming and enjoyable. Gibson and his sidemen manage to keep the music accessible without making it smooth and banal.
The Matriarch; I Hope U Make It Dirty; Round & Round; Andrea; Twilight; Blue Topaz.
Scott Morning: trumpet; Bryan Smith: alto saxophone; Ryan Burns: analog keyboards; Mack
Grout: digital keyboards; Jason Gray: electric bass; Brad Gibson: drums & compositions.