Listen. After a brief cacophonous shout of improvised freedom, The Roswell Incident lures you in with a measured, loosely harmonized saxophone theme. The opener, "Mescal's Pastels," then breaks loose into a no holds-barred up-tempo jam. Saxophonist Glen Hall plays a leading role here, spurting fast and furious melody lines over pulsing rhythm section accompaniment. Hall and trombonist Roswell Rudd blow insistent short tones in the background as vibraphonist Allan Molnar and guitarist Michael Occhipinti take to the stage with their own relatively abbreviated melodic visions. Then it's back to the basics as the tune wraps up.
You thought you had The Roswell Incident figured out by the time the first track blows through? Ah, but think again! The nine minute long second track, "Penny Arcade Peep Show" works through some nice swinging legato themes, and then quite unexpectedly explodes midway through into a hard-rocking guitar blues. Were you paying attention? Well, you are now, that's for sure. For the remainder of the record, the band works through a variety of numbers, from downtempo lyrical ballads to up-tempo agitated swing. These pieces make generous use of Hall's imaginative, linear approach to improvisation, and Rudd delivers some of the freshest playing he's put on record in a while. The group teeters between structure and freedom throughout The Roswell Incident, but most of the music has composed organization at its core. (Credit Hall, as well as Michael Morse and Carla Bley, for these pieces.) Other than some puerile liner notes by Morse that would best be replaced by a simple track listing or piece of art, it's a winning package. Outsource is a well-grounded group with a strikingly creative edge. Plus, there's that weird hunk of blueswhich works quite well too.
Track Listing: Mescal's Pastels; Penny Arcade Peep Show; The Bowery; Rooster Steps; The Inscrutable Mr. Mee Too; Short; Chico; King Korn; The Flow.
Personnel: Glen Hall: tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, bass flute, electronics; Allan Molnar: vibes; Michael Morse: bass; Michael Occhipinti: guitar, banjo; Barry Romberg: drums; Roswell Rudd: trombone.
The first jazz record I bought was Bill Evans' Sunday at the Village Vanguard. When I was in high school, I somehow stumbled
across the track My Man's Gone Now and was instantly transfixed. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard. So I saved up
(times were hard for a teenager back then) and went out and bought the album.
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