The adventurous spirit of pianist Angelica Sanchez is apparent from the beginning of this CD. With Tony Malaby (her husband) on tenor sax, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tom Rainey, the quartet tackles her wild originals. "Fresh Hell" initially suggests a free-form improvisation until Formanek and Rainey join them, but the tension remains thick. The haunting "Thorns" suggests despair following a major emotional trauma, with Malaby echoing the pain through his sax. Rainey's spirited drumming drives "Quick Tipper," featuring Sanchez's dense but powerful solo. Malaby opens "Weirdo" by playing high enough in the register of his instrument to suggest a flute, though the focus of this introspective work is the intriguing interplay between Sanchez and Formanek. The loping, angular "Ajo Comino" is the most accessible of these fascinating compositions. The compelling music of Angelica Sanchez always offers "the sound of surprise," as Whitney Balliet so eloquently describes memorable jazz.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden