Tremendous session released in 2009, and the second time that I come to a record involving trumpet and flugelhorn player Brian Groder with full years of delay after my previous review of his Torque, which perhaps explains why my writeup on that CD is the only missing from the artist’s website’s press section (hey, just kidding). Besides the main names – Burton Greene, of course, on piano – the other musicians are Adam Lane (bass), Rob Browne (alto sax) and Ray Sage (drums). As soon as the immersion in the music had started, I had wondered why there were mentions of “free jazz” on Bill Shoemaker’s lucid-as-ever considerations in the liners. What immediately emerges is in fact a sense of well-organized instrumental action and precise choice of what to play and when.
There are no scores involved, though, and Groder himself states that – except for the preliminary discussions of vague “forms” – everything occurred according to the spur of the moment. So this is indeed free jazz under any aspect: many events happening at once, overlapping contrapuntal portions working as an elastic container for a wider nucleus of energies pulling the interplay’s dynamics from every possible angle. The real charm, apart from the obviously superior playing by the quintet, lies in the lack of that pseudo-hermetic jargon that usually turns hypothetical breakaways into intellectual exercises without genuine depth (technical expertise notwithstanding). Groder & Greene sounds luminous, inspired and cleverly configured; even the segments in which the overall texture becomes thicker and the collective drive approaches the “inflammable” level, there’s always a chance to individuate what the single instruments are doing, which translates 75 minutes of music in a veritable breeze.