Considering the instrumentation, which includes not only a synthesizer but leader Bill Wells on computers and sampling, one would expect that Pick Up Sticks would be an avant-garde set filled with unusual sounds. Surprisingly, the main voice is actually Annie Whitehead on her overdubbed trombones, and most of her playing consists of catchy and infectious (if sometimes repetitive) riffs. In fact, Whitehead makes the other musicians (including keyboardist Barbara Morgenstern, who is actually only on two numbers) seem like her sidemen. The music may have been freely improvised, but with Whitehead playing, the results are logical and pretty accessible. But why is this release only 20 minutes long?
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow