Saxophonist Jim Saltzman and his band have hit new strides with their latest release Hidden Intentions. Produced by Saltzman and executive producer John Sutton, the ten tracks were recorded on October 23, 2006 at Charlestown Road Studios in Hampton, New Jersey. The arrangements have a profound and experimental touch to them like they were derived on the spur of the moment. The instrument parts are very organic as they are emotively executed and chemically react off of each other. Each section acts as a catalyst to inspire the continued progressions which at times causes the songs to go on an on as if they may never end.
The dialogue is formed from the upright bass incisions layered with a series of saxophone wiggles, toe tapping piano keys and drum patterns that remain light and airy. The numbers have an avant jazz sensibility chaining Baroque designs to oblique angles and club jazz attributes that undertone the compositions. The instruments produce courses that take on an exploratory wandering, weeding through melodies as they come in and out arbitrarily and move alongside each other. At times their tones seem uneven, random and at opposite ends of the spectrum with each other but everything moves in the same direction and keeps the songs sounding innovative.
Band mates Jim Saltzman, Pat Firth (piano, Fender Rhodes), Jay Foote (bass), and Quinn Blandford (drums), keep the textures and movements real as they follow a format of laying down random notes that create multiple hues and unconventionally beaded phrases as demonstrated on the title track and the following selection "He Can’t Open The Open Door." The chromatic piano keys and poly-breadth saxophone barrages cause the melodies to create a V-shape as they diverge away from each other but keep the melody moving forward. At times the listener feels like there are two separate melodies anchored by the magnetic club jazz themed rhythms. The shapes of the saxophone passages are ornate as the notes wiggle, twist and swirl with the swiftness of a magician’s wrist. The bass and drum grooves keep the melodies steadily pulsed while the piano designs give the compositions lavish schemes and melodic infusions.
The smooth, mellow piano and saxophone tones on "In God’s Country" deviate from each other but stay held together by the gentle tempo of the bass and drum combo which gives the tune a casual drift. Saltzman plays the Bansuri and Native American flutes on "Losing Sight" which gives the melody a spirituality that soothes and tenderly complements the casual rhythmic movements. The tune has a loving feel that expresses the beauty of the soft timbres of the flute and its pleasant esthetics. The instruments weave and collaborate with each other to compose technically innovative textures which have an appreciation for different tonal shapes and imaginative angles and tangents. The music meanders into multiple hues and phrases of stimulation which makes the songs personal and dramatically unique.
Jim Saltzman and crew have made an avant jazz album that taps into zones that are imaginative and seem randomly coordinated. The music is very personal. The course plowed by the instruments is a group effort as their movements are inspired by one another. The musicians play like they are influenced by what each other is doing. In this way, the album is like a giant quilt that is chiefly homespun and maps the wanderings of its creators. Hidden Intentions is innovative and has Saltzman and crew’s insignia embossed all over it.