More Cutouts represents archival material originally recorded in Florence, Italy 1981, by the trio of saxophonist and leader of the date Roscoe Mitchell, percussionist Tani Tabbal and trumpeter Hugh Ragin. On “Song For The Little Feet –Take A”, the musicians execute pure, innocent motifs in alternating fashion as Ragin and Mitchell produce simple themes that could easily be reformulated into nursery rhymes or songs geared for children. The musicians engage Bop-ish lines in altogether animated fashion on the title track, “More Cutouts” featuring absorbing dialogue and soft understated drumming by Tabbal as the tone and construction of this piece might hint at Mitchell’s celebrated work with the “Art Ensemble of Chicago”. Although, a scaled down version of AEC’s familiar playfulness, wit and candor, the musicians maintain a potent swing vibe as the lack of a bassist in this format provides a contrasting angle or viewpoint.
Throughout, the band offers generous doses of peaks, valleys and sharp dialogue while Tabbal often serves as the colorist whether performing on vibes, percussion or maintaining the pulse. The musicians often converge while sustaining quaint melodies, gleeful unison choruses and unaffected motifs along with highly emotional interludes that bespeak grit and fierce determination. Simply put, More Cutouts is a pleasant and somewhat engrossing set from a group of esteemed artists who were in fine form during these predominately affable yet at times piercing performances. * * * 1/2
Roscoe Mitchell; Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flutes & Soprano Saxophone: Hugh Ragin; Trumpet, Four Valve Piccolo Trumpet & Flugelhorn: Tani Tabbal; Drums, Vibes & Percussion.