As a leader, saxophonist and composer Gary Thomas is wildly ambitious. Throughout the 1980s and into the '90s, Thomas experimented with everything from free jazz and funk to heavy metal and hip-hop. Exile's Gate is another such exercise. There are two distinct bands accompanying him here. One is made up of Thomas on tenor with drummer Jack DeJohnette and guitarist Paul Bollenback with organist Tim Murphy and bassist Ed Howard. The other features the latter two musicians, Marvin Sewell on guitar and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. The first band plays Thomas' free-spirited and aggressive originals while the second plays standards for the most part. Only Thomas would think of putting the two approaches together on one record on alternate cuts.