This leaderless improvising quartet utilises some unusual instruments on their recording. Bassoon is rarely heard outside of classical music and Claire de Brunner is an excellent exponent of the instrument. She studied jazz improvisation with Lee Konitz. She also studied with pianist Connie Crothers as did Carol Liebowitz, whose restrained yet vital contributions are nearly as essential as her listening skills, an attribute which is woefully undervalued in improvised music.
All the pieces presented here are collective improvisations and the listener’s engagement will undoubtedly be enhanced by the veritable smorgasbord of instrumentation involved. Multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter plays no fewer than six instruments over the course of the ten tracks. Carter has played with countless musicians in his long career including the likes of Sam Rivers, Sunny Murray, Jaco Pastorius and Enrico Rava. Percussion virtuoso Kevin Norton graduated with a Master’s degree in orchestral percussion from the Manhattan School of Music and, notably, has collaborated with bass virtuoso Milt Hinton.
There is a mesmeric quality to the music, dominated by the serenely dark notes of de Brunner’s bassoon but with occasional oddities too such as a scream-like sound of unknown origin (bowed cymbal perhaps or a reed?) at around the one minute thirty mark on the opening track “Invisible Colors.” Norton opens the longest track “Every Which Way” on drum kit and the ensemble piece is sporadically punctuated by his application of dramatic cymbals.
There are more unearthly sounds evinced on “Blue Daniel” and this time they perhaps emanate from a bassoon reed. Liebowitz and de Brunner lead on “Beautiful Outcast” before being joined by Carter and Norton. “For All Times” with vibraphone heard at the outset is getting close to Eric Dolphy’s timeless masterpiece Out To Lunch!. A bluesy saxophone introduction to “River Run” gives way to more strident dynamics involving the whole ensemble and is a perfect example of how this group works so well together as one cohesive unit. Listening to each other, always listening.
—by Roger Farbey, All About Jazz
June 30, 2017