This multinational cast led by pianist, Ursel Schlicht renders some downright invigorating improv on Sound Quest. With the opening piece titled “Sound and Fury,” the soloists’ engage in dynamic interplay, where bassist, Ken Filiano steers the band into a blistering romp via his swiftly executed walking bass lines. However, the quintet moves about in climactic fashion as they institute swirling choruses amid trombonist, Steve Swell, and alto saxophonist, Martin Speicher’s excitable flurries. Ms. Schlicht frequently provides the budding undercurrents, largely due to her massive block chords and fluently articulated arpeggios. Everyone plays a crucial role throughout, whether it’s drummer, Lou Grassi’s polyrhythmic wizardry or Swell’s pathos-laden phraseology on, “Implications.”
The musicians’ seemingly fabricate their motifs upon a multi-tiered approach, as if they are attempting to subliminally sneak up on you via a profusion of unexpected twists and turns. But there are some quiet moments, especially during “Sound Quest,” as Swell renders softly stated lyricism in concert with a memorably melodic hook. With the piece titled “Crescendum,” the ensemble abides by a crash and burn manifesto, thanks to Schlicht’s gushing crescendos and Grassi’s gyrating rhythmic developments. Recommended.