This program of originals and tunes from the jazz canon is played by a particularly adept and serious trio comprised of saxophonist and flutist Gerd Dudek, bassist Ali Haurand, and visionary pianist Rob Van Den Broeck. The approach is one inspired by the Paul Bley and Mal Waldron trios and quartets of the '70s in that each composition is explored first for the possibilities of melodic extrapolation -- melodies that can be used to create others in order to make room for harmonic exploration -- and secondly for the timbral colorations it contains that lend themselves to outward exploratory improvising, meaning away from the tune, not from jazz. A fine example of this is Van Den Broeck's own read on "'Round About Midnight," after Dudek leads in with a particularly lovely flute solo disarming everyone. Haurand's bassline gives nothing away as he attempts to ground the improvisation. When Van Den Broeck does enter, on a high ninth, he plays with Monk's harmonics and shifts them into three sets of minors as Dudek carries the melody on the flute. By the time they get to the piano break, he's in another tonal universe with oddly fingered three-note chords and legato phrasing on the right hand. Elsewhere, on the title track by Haurand, there is a deliberate attempt to use the piano as a time-stretching instrument in order to allow the other players to solo from inside the time signature without breaking it. The piano either plays at double, triple, or most of the time half time to keep the modal center off kilter. Finally, on Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes," Van Den Broeck creates a double counterpoint both for himself and for Dudek, who keeps the tune in loose swing mode as the pianist and Haurand move toward a darker shade of blues to juxtapose it against. Waldron himself would offer this with Steve Lacy on occasion, but these three take it further and create an uneasy groove of the tempo. This is a solid trio date marked by its innovative approach to harmony and rhythm and its deep soulfulness.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek