Following the successful trio recording Brooklyn Moments, the collective group Blaise Siwula on saxophones, Nobu Stowe on piano and Ray Sage on drums, added guitarist Dom Minasi before heading back to the studio to record another round of collective improvisations. The groups sound is raw, immediate and very exciting, and the addition of Minasi and is subtle and insinuating tone fills out the groups sound even more. Calling themselves the Total Improvisation Unit, the group thrives on collective improvisation and spontaneous composition, creating their music in real time through deep listening and complex interaction. Choppy piano, guitar and drums open "Quartet IIa" with the horn gliding in and shaping the improvisation like an artist working with clay. Everyone pulls together for what develops into a lengthy and complex collective improvisation. ""Quartet IIb" opens slowly with spare piano developing and some intricate work that is quite impressive. They leave a lot of open space, that is then developed by Siwula who enters halfway through and prods the group to a rumbling and ominous performance. Stowe sits out on "Trio I" with the remaining musicians probing gently for an opening. Slowly picking up pace and developing into an angular improvisation, the group manages the tension well, making for an impressive well controlled performance. "Quartet IIIa" starts with a nice drum interlude for Ray Sage, who sounds fast and dexterous. Saxophone enters and piano follows as the improvisation intensifies. Minsai's swirling guitar adds another dimension flowing like a cool breeze amongst the other instruments. "Quartet I" rounds out the album with subtle abstract improvisation that rolls into a deep momentum, with roiling piano and saxophone leading the way. The music downshifts the tempo to a more open feel that allows the musicians to develop the slower setting. The music on this album was quite dynamic and exciting. It's impressive that these four musicians can just start from a set point and spool out thoughtful, clearly articulated music in such a spontaneous fashion. This is thoughtful and well played music that deserves wider attention. New York Moments - amazon.com
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