On his debut session, Hats, Bob Gillis employs MIDI technology and electronic voices to extend his small ensemble's tonal range to near orchestral proportions. The focus of the date is on Gillis' soundscapes, more than on individual blowing, with the solos integrated into the texture of the pieces. Not that the individual voices are swallowed up. Chuck Schneider's reeds, especially his bass clarinet, add a vital color both to the ensembles and as a solo voice. The leader's trumpet fittingly evokes Miles Davis in its intonation and lyric quality. The date closes with "Expecting," the least formally arranged track akin to the more open structures of the late work of Gil Evans.
by David Dupont