Stephan Crump's early period as a leader and premier young bass player in progressive jazz, plus his substantive time with pianist Vijay Iyer, might not have prepared his fans properly for this collaboration as the Rosetta Trio. For their second CD, Crump, acoustic guitarist Liberty Ellman, and electric guitarist Jamie Fox present an unexpected and satisfying collection of tunes that are very soulful, thoughtful, and passionate. It's not that those elements are a new wrinkle, but here are more roundly rendered and pleasantly listenable while retaining a modern and creative base. Ellman, usually heard as an untamed electric performer, takes a toned-down, spartan, elegant tone, while the up-and-coming Fox is fully able to express himself in Crump's clever, accessible compositions. There's sweetness and light heard on tracks like the waltz "The Leaves, The Rain" or "Here, Not Here" which expresses doubts about technology with a heavier bassline over elusive quietude. The bluesy "Memphis" is somewhat angular, the intriguingly titled "Escalateur" uses expected, slowly ascending lines, while "Overreach" is more hopped up with Fox's electric guitar, and "Shoes, Jump" is full of fun and boogaloo-type funk. With each diverse twist and turn in similar sound palettes, Crump and the guitarists mold this music in a more attractive cast than on their previous selection, making for a particularly unique listening experience of truly new jazz music.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos