Composer and drummer Andrew Drury with his pen and sticks is busy erasing the lines between jazz and contemporary chamber music. On A Momentary Lapse, he employs the framework of an improvising jazz ensemble for music informed by classic compositional techniques. "Vaxjo Kollektiv," with its Eastern European seasoning, evokes the spirit of Bartók. The very way Drury orchestrates his front line of dual saxophones and violin testifies to his deftness in bringing together disparate elements. Rather than voicing Eyvind Kang's fiddle as a distinct instrument, he embeds it in the saxophones to conjure a distinct tone color. That aural pate is maintained as the front line leaps from the driving, rhythmic written line into a three-way improvisation. But, as is the case throughout the session, a connection remains between the predetermined material and the instrumentalists' flights of fancy. Prominent among the supporting cast is pianist Myra Melford, whose seamless inside-outside explorations fit perfectly with Drury's designs. Melford and the other soloists' improvisations serve as moments of release within Drury's tightly wound constructions. Even on "Guanajuato," with its playful, music-box-gone-awry melody and improvised figures tumbling over each other, a sense of cohesion remains. When Drury steps forward on "Some Powerful Women/Why" for a ringing cymbal turn, he confirms the sense of unified vision that enlightens the session.
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AllMusic Review by David Dupont