Producer Robert Rusch hits the nail on the head when declares in his notes that as of the date of this release, this quartet is the most exciting of Scott Rosenberg's many projects. By the date of the recording, the group (which he coins his "Red Quartet") had been together for nearly three-and-a-half years, and the coherence and instinctive interaction among the players are self-evident. Rosenberg's simple Ornette Coleman-influenced melodies remain the order of the day, and they are ideally suited for the piano-less combination of tenor sax, cornet, bass, and drums used here. The uniformly catchy heads set the stage for some invigorating, yet raggedly cool improvisations often featuring two horns that absorb much of their inspiration from the past while stamping their solos with a modern, innovative edge. The saxophonist's thick sound is miles away from many of his contemporaries in modern jazz, but this suits his purposes, as he dives into an Ayler-esque dirge on Italian Jacopo Adreini's unstrained "A1," the only piece not written by Rosenberg. The saxophonist shows his lighter side on "Califa," an attractively funky, yet deceptively simple head. The pieces are wondrous, often with quirky melodies, changing tempos, collective soloing, and a sluggishness that belies an intensity gurgling below the surface. Todd Margasak shines on cornet, often understated, usually rough-edged. Bassist Kyle Hernandez and percussionist Tim Daisy constitute the rhythm section, which splendidly lays a foundation for the horns. Each also solos strongly. The titles of songs bear the mark of Rosenberg's mentor, Anthony Braxton, and to the point, there are no explanations as to how the unusual names were derived.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy