Slovenian guitar ace Samo Salamon fronts a European ensemble akin to one of those legendary all-star jazz summits, but of course these colorific works veer off into an experimental wonderland of improvisation with split-second paradigm shifts amid the ensemble's synergistic discourses. Nonetheless, the respective musicians are at the top of their game here, as Salamon arranged for drummers Roberto Dani and Christian Lillinger to generate the seismic currents by staying in synch but not necessarily executing the same patterns.
Methodical design, rough-and-tumble play, and thoughtful exchange are often viewed as mutually exclusive concepts in jazz. Saxophonist Michaël Attias' Nerve Dance, however, obliterates that line of thinking and any potential obstacles that could separate those realms. This is a work that's cultured, contumacious, and conversational in nature. It's principled art unbound.
Bigmouth – a project of bassist Chris Lightcap – apparently is inspired by stretched-out, two-toned, tail-finned, white-wall-tired cars of the mid-'50s, in reference to the cover art on Deluxe. The music is ultra-modern from a compositional standpoint, only hinting at neo-bop while pushing the creative improvised harmonic envelope. Lightcap's expertise on the bass is second to none, as he pushes and prods his way through these original works with an absolutely stellar band of drummer Gerald Cleaver, electric keyboardist Craig Taborn, tenor saxophonists Tony Malaby and Chris Cheek, and on three tracks alto saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo. While some allusions to the vintage autos are reflected in the titles, Lightcap's vision is of the future, a heady mix of heart and soul embedded in this refreshing new music.