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Michael Vlatkovich Quartet: You're Too Dimensional

Glenn Astarita By

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Longtime and prominent affiliate of California's progressive jazz sector, trombonist Michael Vlatkovich has nurtured strong relationships with multi-reedman Vinny Golia, tenor saxophonist Rich Halley and others of note. Yet Vlatkovich has long been considered as one of the finest improvising trombonist's within modern jazz and the avant-garde jazz spectrums. He's comfortable in a variety of settings, while recently cutting some vibrant trio outings for his independent label, Thank You Records. With this outing he reemerges with a quartet formation and shares the frontline with eminent trumpeter Jim Knodel.

Other than some of the boisterous in-your-face breakouts, the quartet engages in quite a few popping, bump and grind jaunts framed on hearty improvisational segments. They get their juices flowing by also implementing shuffle grooves amid various cadences and expressive conversational patterns. At times, the hornists probe and interrogate each other's thought processes with droning extended notes or when lashing out in garrulous fashion.

The album contains a diverse track mix. For example, the musicians gel to a loping, medium-tempo pulse on the bluesy and somewhat staggered "mOOn jOOiia," and execute a knock-down, drag-out and loosely organized romp during "Blue Peepers," where each musician receives ample time to stretch out. Moreover, various movements are devised on a building-block approach and others are framed on odd- metered unison choruses, gushing with the frontline's impassioned exchanges.

The quartet finalizes the program with "Fools Drunks & Angels." Here, drummer Greg Campbell's rolling and tumbling attack tenders a fluidly energizing and cyclical support, as the horn-men's burning linear choruses deliver the KO punch. Overall, You're Too Dimensional uncannily aligns a good-timey group demeanor with serious-minded improvisation and the musicians significant technical faculties. Hence, the spry group camaraderie transfers to disc in a rather huge way.

Track Listing: Various Manifestations of Thwart & Opine for Curved Bill Thrasher & Toy Piano in 4 Parts; No Candy for the Wagon Full of Devils; The Curious Intensity of a Refrigerator Defrosting; Wishing for 2 at 5/3; mOOn jOOiia; Blue Peepers; The Static Equilibrium of the Values of Savagery; I Liberate Monsters; Balance Out of Life Out of Balance; Fools Drunks & Angels.

Personnel: Michael Vlatkovich: compositions, trombone; Jim Knodle: trumpet; Phil Sparks: bass; Greg Campbell: drums, French horn (9).

Title: You're Too Dimensional | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: pfMentum

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