The second Tripleplay outing -- Ken Vandermark, Curt Newton, and Nate McBride -- is worlds away from the trio's initial offering, 1998's Expansion Slang on the Boxholder label. While that recording offered proof that the ensemble could play together, this one shows in spades how well they create together. There are eight tunes here, half composed by Vandermark, and half by McBride; all were written specifically for this band. Themes are what drive this band, with clearly stated heads extrapolated upon by modal uses of harmonic and chromatic tonal explorations. The tunes range from the wonderfully perverse post-bop angular melodicism of Vandermark's "Two (For Joe Morris)," clocking in at just over four minutes, to the nine-minute-plus study in tension and dynamics that is "Bird, Field (gray)," by McBride. There are surprises at every turn, and while this is certainly an "out" date, it is nonetheless compelling -- not as a blowing session, but as a compelling and satisfying series of ensemble constructions.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek