The spirit of the great bassist and composer Charles Mingus looms large over these recordings, no small feat for a scrappy band of musicians trying to record large scale music in a difficult economic environment. The powerful and well integrated group consists of Lane on bass, Avram Fefer on alto saxophone, David Bindman and Matt Bauder on tenor saxophone, Igal Foni on drums, Reut Regev and Tim Vaughn on trombone and Taylor Ho Bynun on trumpet. It's a compact and powerful unit that attacks the music with great verve, getting a wide variety of musical color in their palette. The artistic analogy comes through nicely in the opener, "Imaginary Portrait" where lush horns open over bass and drums, before strong trumpet comes to the fore over propulsive riffing. Bass and trumpet have their own section, exploring the dynamics of the music. "Marshal" slows things down with a spare and longing feel to the music. Lane's elastic bass centers the ebb and flow of the subtle atmosphere. The free-ish and raw "Nine Man Morris" is very exciting, with the group playing the music fast and loose, and the bass providing a pivot point for the swirling horns, notably a killer tenor saxophone solo. As good as that performance is, "House of Elegant" catches them at their peak, with the full band coming out strong on the theme, and then sparking superb sax and trumpet interludes. Lane takes center stage on "Ashcan Rantings" with an excellent bowed bass solo (he takes another on "Sienna's Slip Jig") leading the group into a mid-tempo performance on an ominous riff. Grinding electronics distort the music as they delve into a wild and unfettered improvisation. This is a lengthy album, but it never dulls and becomes akin to a fascinating story, unfolding its narrative over time. The octet configuration suits the music perfectly and the band members all go above and beyond in the creation of a wonderful and creative album. Ashcan Rantings - amazon.com
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