An intimate yet intense journey into abstract surrealism...
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
A cohesive synergy of harmonious swing. Quiet and unassuming quickly morphs into shifting meter and a freedom of expression that walks that fine line between hard bop and the more experimental. Imaginative yet wildly accessible has Peter Epstein's Quartet and Polarities as one of the more engaging improvisational releases of the year.
Tbe somewhat melancholy vibe of "Old Yarn" develops an organic heartbeat of channeled fury while a methodical bass line is laid down by Sam Minaie. The nuanced finesse of drummer Mark Ferber ties together the more demonstrative performances of trumpet player Ralph Alessi and saxophonist Peter Epstein. Ideas flow while taking the harmonic road less traveled but these ideas still maintain a rather tangible lyrical sense of purpose. The mid-tempo "Email from Nigeria" is the epitome of the abstract groove with an odd Paul Motian feel going to a new global percussive land few have dared to visit. To attempt to pigeon hole either Pete Epstein or this dynamic ensemble is somewhat pointless. Polarities are individual lyrical thoughts that move simultaneously in either direction. The end result is rather stunning, a release to remember.
Tracks: Polarity; Tiny Expanding Universe; Forever Now; Old Yarn; Email From Nigeria; Aholdu; Constance; Hurtle; Stillness.
Personnel: Peter Epstein: Alto & Soprano Saxophone, Compositions; Ralph Alessi: Trumpet, Cornet; Sam Minaie: Bass; Mark Ferber: Drums.
Songlines continues to be a leader in the modern/creative improvisational movement. Polarities is one of their finest releases.