These four young (ish) New Yorkers take their group name – and this is very much a quartet of equal parts – from the medium-crisp, ostinato-sprung yet floating Kenny Wheeler chart that opens the album. Each is a strong and thoughtful player and overall, the session is further testament to the consistently high quality of the releases from the New Talent side of the Fresh Sound label. It offers music which is thoroughly of the current time while also conjuring – for this listener, at least – fond memories of that majestic ensemble of the early 1960s, the New York Contemporary Five (hear “Landmarks”, especially, which also has a touch of Lennie Tristano to its urgent yet astutely balanced linearity).
The absence of any upfront harmonic instrument throws the mobile empathy of both unison and freely interwoven motifs displayed by Raymond and Lore into sharp relief, with their consistently intelligent and arresting ideas given lean and purposeful cross-rhythmic complement by Wiesenberg and Stranahan. “Motian Sickness” exemplifies both the democratic musicality of the quartet and their ability to establish and sustain a strong mood – a factor equally present in the gently wrought “Capricorn Lady” and what is, at just under four minutes, perhaps the most affecting reading of Charlie Haden’s “Silence” that I’ve heard. Brevity is further fruitful in “Break”, “Future Self” and “Glimmer” – three distinctive miniatures, each around a minute in duration.
If your fancy inclines to coolly spun and crisply urgent, more heated ideas melding in freshly configured playing as rhythmically energising as it is melodically striking and spatially aware, then this excellent disc is for you.
Kind Folk; Capricorn Lady; Break; 14; Landmarks; Future Self; Motian Sickness; Glimmer; Waiting For The Open Door; Silence (43.30)
John Raymond (t, flh); Alex Lore (as); Noam Wiesenberg (b); Colin Stranahan (d). Brooklyn, 19 November 2017.
Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 557