The music on drummer Gerry Hemingway's The Whimbler is consistently fascinating and intriguing. All four musicians essentially operate as equals and, although the music is technically "avant-garde," there is no shortage of improvised melodies, rhythmic patterns, and close group interplay. The musicians listen closely to each other and are not afraid to develop the group improvisations, display wit, or echo each other's ideas. There is a point to each song and each minute of each song, even though the music is never predictable. Trumpeter Herb Robertson and tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin constantly play off each other, bassist Mark Helias pushes the horns, and Hemingway, who contributed all of the originals, is subtle (using space expertly) but forceful. The Whimbler is a classic of its kind, modern jazz for the early 21st century.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow