Swiss drummer Daniel Humair is the de facto leader on this all-star meeting at Town Hall in New York City during the 1988 JVC Jazz Festival, featuring pianists Joachim Kühn and Martial Solal, multi-reed player Michel Portal, bassist J.F. Jenny-Clarke, and guitarist Marc Ducret. Kühn opens the set with his tense "From Time to Time Free," which incorporates elements of both post-bop and free jazz in a furious trio setting with Humair and Jenny-Clarke. Kühn's next piece, the ballad "Easy to Read," is less demanding of the listener, though the pianist still shows off his formidable technique with numerous outbursts of rapid-fire runs. Solal takes over for a long medley that begins with the standard "Here's That Rainy Day" but soon detours into wild territory by playing "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" in one hand and basic piano exercises in the other, wrapping up this exhausting feature with "A Night in Tunisia." Portal contributes two numbers, including the quirky "Pastor," in which he plays darting phrases on bass clarinet, tightly accompanied by the rhythm section. Kühn's finale, "Changement," is a bizarre mix of post-bop, Latin rhythms, and tango that proves infectious, with Portal's bandoneon sharing the lead with the pianist. Full of surprises, this Label Bleu CD has lapsed from print and is becoming increasingly difficult to find.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden