A disruptive, spiky guitar solo at the beginning of “Temple Elm” represents a veritable statement of intent: there will be no concessions or facilitations to audiences not totally focused, we’re not here to entertain the softer souls. Trumpet and saxophone immediately agree, establishing a “tell it like it is” policy which defines the entirety of Ninth Square. Thus a rough voyage inside the interstices of a problematic counterpoint begins.
Several ways exist to comfortably handle a recording constructed upon agitated spurts and parallel affirmations that do not consider the average ear’s necessity of the plague called “obligatory consonant respite”. In truth, this trio seems to get progressively more excited at the idea of communicating through opposite tendencies. Frequently operating on the dissolution of relatively familiar acoustic hues, both Morris and Wooley commit themselves to defoliating the tree of jazz syrupiness. The guitarist is often heard with a heavily modified timbre which exalts the auras of lower reverberation, especially in the percussive approaches to the interplay. The trumpeter barely restrains his own temperament across flurries of semi and quarter tone invectives, merging raucous blares to remind us where we are and who we’re listening to. Parker, on his side, connects all the points by oscillating between stages of rabid shamanism and devilishly enlightened lyricism, ultimately becoming a potently prominent voice in many a juncture.
Forced to name favorite episodes, the “Grove State” / “High Center” consecutiveness is a convincing demonstration of pulmonary deathlessness enhanced by Morris’ “pick-as-an-arco” disciplined anarchy. However, the best method to fully enjoy this music is also the most straightforward: get lost within the turbulences, let uncomfortable dissonance kick the rear of your pants. It works perfectly after four or five spins, just in case the initial skirmishes with this type of heterodoxy produce a “uh, next time” reaction in the overly mild-mannered.