The instrumentalist’s personalized touch is incorporated into a rather prolific sum of the moving parts. They launch the festivities with a warm piece "Slanted Sky," where Surman’s blissful soprano sax lines project a quaint theme, accented by Abercrombie’s sinewy phrasings. Moreover, the quartet renders a flotation-like string of events, and the lead soloists generate gobs of counterpoint amid variable mood-evoking perspectives.
The band spawns a harmonious progressive-jazz wonderland, partly due to the disparity in pulses and material, punctuated by Abercrombie and Surman’s melodic unison lines. On "No Finesse," the quartet executes a frothy and lighthearted jazz waltz, highlighted by a cheery primary theme via Surman’s spirited baritone sax work. However, they raise the pitch with some pop and sizzle during "Kickback," as DeJohnette and Surman engage in some heated counter-maneuvers. Here, the drummer prominently enacts his polyrhythmic wizardry.
Surman steers the ensemble into free-spirited avant-jazz frameworks and some bop excursions, offset by loose groove, funk-rock underpinnings and the rhythm section’s bustling support. Ultimately, we wouldn’t expect anything less than superb from a band of this magnitude. True to form: mission accomplished in rather all-encompassing fashion. - Glenn Astarita