For Liberated Gesture, her fourth release, Taiwan-born, New York vibraphonist Yuhan Su assembled a band of saxophonist Caroline Davis, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Marty Kenney and drummer Dan Weiss, all of whom play at their usual exalted level. That's fast company, but Su holds her own, moving smoothly in and out of taut ensemble passages and soloing with the clarity and subtle color of tinted quartz. Still, she makes her most impressive contribution on Liberated Gesture with her pen, not her mallets. All the compositions are Su's and at 72 minutes, the recording provides a generous opportunity for her to show her compositional range, from the jittery, M-Base-y "Character" to the haunted watchfulness of "Didion." Her skill in keeping opposites in equipoise shines on "Naked Swimmer," an aqueous ballad where unease lurks a few strokes behind the exhilaration of a solitary midnight swim.
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John Chacona is a freelance journalist, content writer and producer in Cleveland.
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