For this widely acclaimed band's 8th album, drummer John Hollenbeck decided to compose concise pieces that get the job done in less time stating: "When the tunes are longer, there tend to be moments when not a whole lot is happening. If you have a really short tune, the whole thing has to be compelling." Hence, the drummer succeeds when abiding by that principle without sacrificing the quintet's famously tight rhythmic excursions, abetted by sinuous movements and buoyant dialogues. Hollenbeck's razor-sharp precision and sweeping fills tender a vibrant sense of motion with the frontline's lilting solo spots amid circular flows, mesmeric thematic ventures and off-kilter time signatures. Along with the musicians' structured detours and clever integration of dynamics, their propensity to keep you on your toes remain intact.
The final track "Mangold," commences with Chris Speed's terse and pensive clarinet lines. Here, the band conveys a sense of mystery as vibraphonist Matt Moran and harmonica ace Red Wierenga delve into a subliminal ostinato motif. It's a rather humble setting, gently framed by Hollenbeck's ever so gentle use of brushes and a plot that leisurely evolves into a calm after the storm type vista, when considering the previous up-tempo tracks. And they execute this piece with a minimalistic gait that may lull you into an introspective sense of being. Thus, Hollenbeck's decision to switch gears yield a rather persuasive outlook partly due to his sharp focus on pruning any notions of excess from the grand schema. They get in, get out, and get to the point in rather brisk fashion.
Track Listing: Nightbreak; JFK Beagle; A-List; Philly; Peterborough; Rose Colored Rhythm; If You
Seek A Fox; Pure Poem; Newark Beagle; Mangold.
Personnel: Chris Speed: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Red Wierenga: accordion, piano; Drew
Gress: acoustic bass; Matt Moran: vibraphone; John Hollenbeck: drums,
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