West-coast avant-garde trumpeter/flugelhornist/composer Kris Tiner has appeared on 25 recordings for mostly small independent and self-published labels. He has been heard on MTV and Comedy Central and his numerous awards - from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), and Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead program - all speak to the seriousness with which Tiner approaches his art. Some of the artists he has worked with include Leroy Jenkins, Wadada Leo Smith, Kim Richmond, Michael Vlatkovich, Pete Christlieb, the Joe LaBarbera Quintet and The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet.
Guitarist Mike Baggetta is from Massachusetts. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University and is currently completing studies for his Master of Music degree there while living in New York. Among the artists he has worked with include Conrad Herwig, Tom Harrell, Bucky Pizzarelli and Ruth Brown.
There, Just As You Look For It is free-jazz, ala Paul Bley and Evan Parker, conceived within traditional compositional boundaries. Amongst the caterwauling, wailing, spleeches, splops and sploops, these two avant-garde artists manage to create, in no uncertain terms, a true musical dialogue. No this isn’t, in any sense of the notion, your father’s jazz. Their precision in playing lines of like-mind and character, as well as their honed and shared sense of musical proportion is remarkable. Their common bond is best expressed in those pieces when one can easily hear the compositional process in play. "A Delicate Touch," for example, opens with a true trumpet melody with guitar accompaniment. As to whether the music is improvised or written is not the point, what matters is the shared sense of concept that pervades the entire piece as it unfolds. From there the music moves off to unison rhythmic lines followed by introspection before returning back to the concept of true melody with accompaniment. That their harmonic and technical language is not bound by the traditional is just added gravy. Tiner and Baggetta work in the same manner the early serial composers worked, by taking the traditional concepts of music and superimposing a new harmonic/sound language.
When viewing the entire CD as a suite it’s remarkable how each piece leads to the next. Baggetta’s uniquely expressive, read introspective here, solo on "Your Aftermath" leads exquisitely into the "Quadrants" four-movement suite. The same can be said for the way "Caffeinated Weasels" leads so perfectly into "One More Chance." Happenstance is not in the musical lexicon of these artists.
Whether all of the music contained on the disc works is almost not the point. Sure, there are sections when they should have self-edited a little more - Tiner gets a little pedantic on "WE" and Baggetta a bit repetitive during "The Road To El Paso" - but you don’t come to this kind of music for succinctness. If you want to open your ears this is a good place to start, but remember you have to approach this music with open ears.