Russ Lossing makes a point of blurring the line between form and freedom. His piano playing and compositional language are profoundly influenced by contemporary classical music. He also identifies with the more unconventional jazz piano masters: witness the inclusion of "Monk's Mood" and "Let's Call This" by Thelonious Monk and "Awake" by Andrew Hill.
Together with bassist Ed Schuller and drummer Paul Motian, Lossing paints a complex, impressionistic picture. He places moments of crystal-clear precision against an atmospheric backdrop, as on the bass/piano unison melodies that emerge during the nebulous title track. On a more structured tune like "Hablo," he pushes against the limits of the form with bold splashes of harmonic color. His considerable piano chops emerge most clearly on energetic numbers such as the oblique blues "Vaporetto" and the swinging "Double Mint." His rhythmic palette is also nicely complemented by the slow four of "Secret About" and the quasi-Latin free funk of "Yaqui Poem."
Schuller's bass covers a great deal of sonic territory. His rather pronounced vocalizations during his solos might be distracting to some, but his well-placed intensity is indispensable to the project. Motian, a major figure who knows a thing or two about free-leaning, piano-led groups, is also a tremendous asset, giving Lossing's open-ended compositions and interpretations the kind of fractured rhythmic flow they seem to require.