Four of the five selections on this CD features a very cogent trio version of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, with John Stevens on percussion and cornet, Nigel Coombes on violin, and Roger Smith on guitar. The opening piece, "Boileau Road," recorded in 1980 and lasting nearly half an hour, is one of the finest examples of free improvisation. Coombes, in particular, dazzles with his avant-garde lyricism, making this track more accessible than most SME recordings. The other pieces with the trio, recorded more than a decade later, are more obtuse and a tad less interesting. The welcome addition of the clarinet and flute on "Five to One" add a bit to the variety. While not essential, Hot and Cold Heroes is important for documenting Smith and Coombes' contributions to the SME. As with all Emanem releases, this one comes with extensive liner notes written by producer Martin Davidson.
AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy