Jonny King is a talented advanced hard bop player whose playing on this early release finds him performing in a group that recalls the Bobby Hutcherson/Harold Land quintet of the early '70s. King sometimes sounds here like McCoy Tyner or Mulgrew Miller, and he contributed six of the eight numbers – all but the standard "Mean to Me," which is taken as a tasteful piano-vibes duet, and Herbie Hancock's "Blow Up," with the closing calypso "Las Ramblas" being the most memorable. Steve Nelson's vibes (influenced by Hutcherson) are a key voice both in the ensembles and as a soloist. Joshua Redman is in excellent if conventional form on tenor while showing on the hyperactive "Caffeine" that his soprano playing is coming along. With bassist Peter Washington and drummer Billy Drummond offering solid support, this is a fine modern mainstream date.
Inspired early on by the experimental pieces of Krzysztof Penderecki, Radiohead's guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood has pursued the idea of shaping orchestral sounds in enexpected ways to produce startling and innovative works. Just as Penderecki wrote for conventional instruments and turned dense bands of microtonal dissonances and extended techniques into the agonized cries of Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and the pulsating roars and shrieks of Polymorphia, Greenwood achieves comparable effects in his multilayered and highly varied orchestral music. The massed harmonies and swooping glissandi of Popcorn Superhet Receiver owe a considerable debt to Threnody, which Greenwood would gladly admit; because the title 48 Responses to Polymorphia openly acknowledges the connection to that work, it is easy to identify Greenwood's raw materials and how he brilliantly reworks them to his purposes. This 2012 release from Nonesuch consists of recordings made with the Aukso Orchestra in Kraków, Poland, with Penderecki conducting his own works and Marek Mos conducting Greenwood's compositions.