Greg Osby has influenced legions of saxophonists over the past two-plus decades. On Sonic Halo, one of those players stands tall beside him.
Once upon a time, Osby and dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma had a mentor-mentee relationship, but that was then, and this is now. Both players are equals on this probing venture. Nine tracksfive from Postma's pen, three from Osby, and an abstraction on a standard ("Body And Soul")give this pair ample room to feel each other out ("Sea Skies"), travel angular pathways ("Facets"), look straight into the face of uncertainty ("Source"), and succumb to the calm ("Where I'm From"). The music is edgy and hip, dark and devious, and grooving and untethered all at once.
Osby and Postma make strong impressions whether crossing streams with sopranos or laying it down with altos, but they aren't the only notable voices at play. Pianist Matt Mitchell is every bit their match, jumping headlong into the musical abyss and painting profound piano lines. And then there's the superb rhythm team of Dan Weiss and Linda May Han Oh to contend with. Together, Oh and Weiss stretch the rhythmic fabric of the music ("Source Code"), deliver head bob-inducing grooves built around a firm drum pocket and bubbly bass ("Bottom Forty"), and push the music ever onward.
All five players often come together to function as brilliantly moving parts in complex musical machinery, but that's not the endgame. One of the most fascinating aspects of this album centers on the fact that this band creates these intriguing machinations, only to tear them right down and look elsewhere for inspiration and building materials. Structural sophistication and restlessness end up serving as the dual pillars that support Sonic Halo.
Sea Skies; Facets; Source Code; Where I'm From; Nine Times A Night; Bottom Forty; Melo; Body And Soul; Pleasant Affliction
Tineke Postma: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Greg Osby: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Matt Mitchell: piano, rhodes; Dan Weiss: drums; Linda Oh: bass.
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