After being in the studio to record Ross’s latest large ensemble project Architexture, it so happened that the last day of production was not required. Instead, the quartet used the time to record some spontaneous improvisations, therefore offering a contrast between the structure and formality of the ensemble project (Reason) with a “just play” philosophy (Temptation).
The result offers the listener a fragile, at times eerie listening experience, something quite different from the traditional jazz quartet combination of piano, sax, drums and bass.
Five of the compositions are penned by Ross and provide some sense of structure, but the remaining group improvisations find Sebastian Gille centre stage on tenor and soprano saxes. His breathy, angular phrasing lends the music that eerie sensation. The use of space, unfinished ideas and some atmospheric, delicate brushwork from Arends gives the set a mood that is unique and sometimes slightly disquieting.
There is a gorgeous interpretation of Ralph Towner’s Celeste dropped in amongst the group improvisations, adding to the sense that this quartet could take the music in any direction it wanted to, and do it well. Spacious, thoughtful music with a quiet depth to it.
Progress Report; Dandelion; Ignorance Is Bliss; Rondo #4; Shallow; Teriyaki Terrier; Reckoning; Celeste; Make A Swish; Broomstick; U.A.F.; Reckoning (alt); Fever Dream (64.49)
Ross (p); Sebastian Gille (ts, ss); David Helm (b); Fabian Arends (d). Koln, 3 July 2019.
Toy Piano Records TPR 202001