Amongst free improvisers there is always the distinction between who plays jazz and who doesn't, and the ones that do like projects where a jazz approach is combined with improvising methods employing harsher sounds, less direct swinging, and so on. This Japanese CD is certainly intriguing in its approach to music of this nature. The results this trio gets on a program of real chestnuts borders on the stupendous. One reason is that the influences the players bring in to the mix are not limited to jazz history, but rather reflect the kind of madly diverse attack Japanese musicians carry out on the entire concept of genres. Guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa really sounds good on this type of material. His love of different tone settings of course means he has a whole range of warm, fuzzy jazz guitar sounds that he really hasn't exploited as much in his other recordings. The interplay between him and the drums and bass is consistently surprising. Of course, it is always a challenge for musicians to play songs as well done as some of these titles, and when they manage to be this original about it the results are commendable. Altered States doesn't just play standards, they are setting standards.
AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne