California native and premier, progressive/free-jazz drummer Michael Vatcher relocated to Amsterdam in 1977, and has become a prominent musical force in the global jazz panorama. On this release, he aligns with revered Netherlands reared artists for a cunning set of shrewdly concocted works, built upon linear themes, and a sense of fragmented buoyancy amid bellowing outbursts. However, reedman Jan Klare and trumpeter Bart Maris offer a multitude of contrasts and assertive musings while also engaging in microtonal and minimalist-like passages.
It’s a semi-structured game-plan where improvisation and compositional form attain a fruitful equilibrium. With melodically drenched choruses, the band pauses, shifts, and projects a seamless integration of ideas into a multidimensional flow that might be akin to reading a detective thriller. On "Pavement," Klare’s blithe flute lines offer a persuasive encounter with Maris’ muted trumpet work. Here, the band renders a crisp and tuneful sequence of militaristic phrasings, toned with loose and airy vibes atop Vatcher’s oscillating rhythms. In other regions of sound and scope, the musicians engage in polytonal frameworks and mix it up in heated fashion, to inject an abundance of weaving storylines into the program. And bassist Wilbert de Joode is the glue who creates an expansive underpinning. Simply stated, this outing looms as a top-ten entry, regardless of stylizations or various jazz genres, for 2009.