The thought of two drummers and a saxophonist as intense as Ken can be was a little daunting, but not to worry; the music is very involving and even downright accessible. The material breathes naturally and is very musical at all points. It doesn't jump into overdrive immediately like one might expect of a unit this shape. The choice of material is a big asset to this date as well; a good balance of originals and tunes that deserve to be covered more than they have. Vandermark does not attempt to fill every possible space. He leaves plenty of room for the drummers, who work very well together. Ken often lays out for goodly stretches and allows Barry and Mulvenna to fill the soundstage which they do with aplomb. This is not a scream fest - the music swings with the best of 'em.
Of the two drummers, it is Mulvenna who is the busier. He is a great drummer, as anyone who's seen/heard him LIVE can attest. Though Mulvenna is on the left and Barry on the right channel, it is nevertheless difficult to separate them; their playing is so synchronized and mutually supportive. Robert Barry, with his sparser playing style, is very imaginative and the two mesh beautifully. I hope Barry is afforded more recording opportunities after this re-emergence onto the scene. Ken Vandermark's playing is, once again, awe inspiring. This is no re-creation of Coltrane's "Spaces" blast furnace energy music. Ken, at times, sounds so relaxed in this setting that it can be hard to tell what's improvised and what is written.
There is much flat-out beauty on display here. The music flows naturally and sounds complete in its realization. No other instruments were needed. Again, this is a very melodic session. It's great that Delmark is recording avant garde artists again these days. I may be rambling here, but it should be obvious that I LIKE this one a lot.