Signs of Life

Peter Apfelbaum & The Hieroglyphics Ensemble

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Signs of Life Review

by Scott Yanow

This set by saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum's Hieroglyphics Ensemble features an odd mixture of styles, including avant-garde jazz, African roots music, rock, funk and folk music. Due to the amount of improvising that takes place in the frequently dense ensembles, the music should be considered jazz despite the other influences. Apfelbaum is the strongest soloist (particularly on tenor), and there are some good spots for Paul Hanson's bassoon, Will Bernard's rockish guitar, Tony Jones' violent tenor and Jeff Cressman's spirited trombone among others. The ten Apfelbaum originals set moods rather than state melodies and have an unfinished and unsettling quality about them. Although not a total success, Signs of Life shows signs of innovation.

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