German-born multi-woodwind expert Christof Knoche leads a quartet through his complexly fabricated works, featuring various modern jazz-based frameworks. Knoche abides by a mindset that places equal importance on improvisation and written material. On the title track, "Line Zero," Russ Johnson's muted trumpet work rides above a perky ostinato groove. But the all-encompassing factor resides within the soloists' tuneful choruses and torrid swing vamps, married with free-form interludes and an oscillating sense of direction. Knoche performs on alto and soprano saxophones, while also picking up the bass clarinet on occasion. No doubt, he's a shrewd composer, as the band often varies the playing field and momentum of these multidirectional pieces that create gobs of interest. They inject subliminal doses of Middle Eastern modalities amid triumphant pronouncements and heated exchanges. With works such as "The Dazzle," the musicians meld a loosely based New Orleans-style shuffle groove with radiantly executed lyricism, abetted by drummer Dan Weiss' melodically tinged drum solo. Simply stated, Knoche has the potential to become a major voice within the seemingly boundless modern jazz arena.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita