The Fringe -- a talented New England trio comprising tenor saxophonist George Garzone, bassist John Lockwood and drummer/percussionist Bob Gulloti -- is obscure even by avant-garde jazz's standards. The Return of the Neanderthal Man, recorded live in Providence, Rhode Island, is a free jazz CD that is as spiritual as it is abstract. Closer to Anthony Braxton than Albert Ayler, atonal pieces like "Sao Lourenco" and "Contemplation" tend to float and meditate rather than confront. Although quite abrasive at times, Garzone is never an angry firebrand a la Charles Gayle. "Head Now" has a hard boppish quality, and "The Departure" sounds like Middle Eastern music with "outside" leanings. But on the whole, the improvisers don't go outside -- they stay there.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson