Origin Records is an often over looked label when in reality they have a stable of artists that are as technically proficient and artistically gifted as most any other label one can think of. The Jack Mouse Group is certainly no exception and with a distinguished musical resume including work with such luminaries as Kenny Burrell, Bob Mintzer, and Sheila Jordon it is easy to see this is not Mouse's first rodeo.
Jack Mouse has assembled what is essentially a quintet with two bass titans in Bob Bowman and Kelly Sill splitting time on Range of Motian. The fact that Mouse has a long standing history with all the participants here only strengthens the musical chemistry which translates into an exciting group dynamic reminiscent of the classic Blue Note sound simply brought up to date with unique and challenging arrangements of some original compositions destined to stay around for some time.
While the focus on a distinct ebb and flow may not have been the primary concern in putting this project together the lyrical sense of purpose with which this quintet approaches their craft allows each voice to make their own statement with the end result a delightful synergy of what happens when all the stars are in perfect alignment for a recording date. "Hip Check" has a certain pop of vitality and was fittingly inspired by hockey legend Bobby Orr and his devastating hip check he would lay on opponents as a lovely parting gift for invading his space. "Prairie Dance" is a tune that allows Mouse to go back to the future with inspiration from playing country dances at the community center in Emporia Kansas as a youth. "Loose Weave" is perhaps the most adventurous piece as a free form duet with long time friend and saxophone player Scott Robinson.
A solid presentation of compositional excellence coupled with a musicality that knows no limitations. Origin Records and Jack Mouse bang out another winner!
Personnel: Scott Robinson: tenor & soprano saxophones, flute; Art Davis: trumpet & flugelhorn; John McLean: guitar; Bob Bowman: bass (3,4,6,7,8); Kelly Sill: bass (1,2,5,9); Jack Mouse: drums.
Tracks: LaPorta; Slow Helen; Winterset; Hip Check; Raucous Caucus; The Breezeling; Mean Streak; Prairie Dance; Manne-rism; Loose Weave.