Consensual Tension

Mark Whitecage

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Consensual Tension Review

by Steve Loewy

Billed as Mark Whitecage's "Other Quartet," this largely freely improvised set holds up surprisingly well. Whitecage is joined by power saxophonist Sabir Mateen and by longtime colleague bassist Joe Fonda and drummer Harvey Sorgen. The playing is tight and the solos riveting, particularly when the two horns go hand-to-hand. Whitecage and Mateen seem to anticipate each other's every move, and the cover art by Kara Rusch of two fingers pulling a wishbone to its near-breaking point is a good depiction of the tension throughout. Energy music that never loses focus or control, the seven numbers comprising this recording are full of surprises and suspense. Fonda is delirious on bass, his fingers racing, while Sorgen adds just enough punch to knock the proceedings into orbit. There is enough subtlety to delight the close listener, and enough rawness to satisfy those who appreciate scorching sounds.

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