Friday, July 30, 2010

Ideal Bread - Transmit: Vol. 2 of the Music of Steve Lacy (Cuneiform, 2010)

A collective group that plays the music of the late saxophonist and composer Steve Lacy, Ideal Bread consists of Josh Sinton on baritone saxophone, Kirk Knuffke on trumpet, Reuben Radding on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. The music is quite melodic and accessible, and the performances are at a very high level. "As Usual" develops from a low medium tempo into a multi-horn exercise, building the melody before venturing into open space. Fujiwara's drums roll like the tide, ebbing and flowing around the deep saxophone and trumpet. Gently riffing horns open "Flakes" before giving way to a sputtering trumpet solo. Stinton's saxophone is mellow and probing, developing intensity in a patient and thoughtful manner, before reaching a fast and free section abetted by potent drum work. "The Dumps" features some tongue in cheek scatting with the horns smearing the sound like abstract painters working on canvas. "Longing" continues the abstract vibe, developing a low and slow opening, and containing a trumpet feature that is fractured and subtle. Radding opens "Cliches" with deep and elastic solo bass before swirling crunchy horn riffs pick up the pace. Stinson develops one of his strongest solos on the album, creating a deep and strong voice that is free and exciting. Not to be outdone, Knuffke bobs and weaves like a boxer on trumpet, and the cool rhythmic drumming of Fujiwara keeps everyone on their toes. This was an excellent performance and the highlight of the album. Light horns slowly developing with subtle bass and brushes are the centerpiece of "The Breath" with spare and spacious improvisation at the forefront. "Papa's Midnight Hop" has nice strong riffing from the horns, weaving in and out and creating a musical fabric. Strong saxophone and trumpet solos are followed by nice full band collective improvisation. Steve Lacy's compositional legacy was a very strong one and is ripe for rediscovery in a modern jazz scene that is casting about for inspiration. Ideal Bread moves well beyond the notion of a tribute band and develops the ideas and compositions of Lacy in their own way, creating a powerful musical statement in the process. Transmit: Vol. 2 of the Music of Steve Lacy -

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