Michael Blake’s Amor de Cosmos practically dares you to try on a different mindset for size. If it fits at once, you’re fine. If not, wait don’t dash off just yet. Sit a moment. It’s certainly worth some serious evaluation.
For those enamored of the saxophone’s intricacies, to the exclusion of all else that may or may not be going on in an album, the opening track, "Ghostlines," offers a profound peek inside. Exciting? Not to me, by a mile. This was a very bad start to what could have become an exuberant exercise in straight-ahead jazz with a nicely defined flair. But then, I’m one who salivates at the thought of good rhythms and tantalizing melodies as the forefront of any great project. Unfortunately, cut one didn’t fit the bill. However, tunes like "So Long Seymour" were more than interesting in their composition and concept. "So Long Seymour" is a challenging free-time piece that showcases Sal Ferreras on marimba and Chris Gestrin on piano. The recipe works quite well for the free jazz patron, in my opinion.
The "twist" to which the group alludes in the African-flavored "The Wash Away" (the 11/8 time) does take center stage, along with Brad Turner’s tender and well-placed trumpet. A nifty show of arrangement skill. Then, there’s the very different almost scary track 7, "The Hunt" with its mysterious voicings. Like walking into the House on Haunted Hill. I suppose it’s this very mystique that gives the piece a real signature of uniqueness. If you have the open mind to embrace this piece, it will probably be what sells you on the entire album. The merit is obvious, and those looking for a real twist of free jazz to complement the traces of traditional jazz found here should be pleased.