Even as the music industry has leaned more toward pigeonholing artists to fit them into simple categories, listeners are blessed to have a few visionaries who realize that the spirit of truly great music can't always be so tidy and contained. Weckl's fifth Stretch Records release lives up to the promise of its kinetic title, reflecting his ensemble's powerful rhythmic energy and ongoing commitment to melodic invention and improvisational spontaneity. The whirlwind begins with his funky, aggressive drum intro on "Double Up," which leads to a bona fide live jam featuring Brandon Fields' fiery sax, Tom Kennedy's bass throb, Steve Weingart's lively keyboard riffs (including a Fender Rhodes section), and exciting brass flourishes. "Child's Play" shows some of the band's global-minded leanings, opening with a small kids choir and African chanting and delving into a mix of tight jazz fusion and jungly exotica. Weingart's "Mesmer-Eyes" has a similar tribal flavor, with synth vibes, sparse percussion, a moody bassline, and later, staccato sax bursts. The light, swinging, moody soul number "Skipper" is a true showcase for Fields' incomparable sax virtuosity, while also featuring some of Weckl's own wild hi-hat and drum fills. With its distinctive Japanese elements and cool ambience, Weingart's romantic and lyrical "Oasis" seems inspired by the group's various outings in the Far East.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran