This 2008 release presents some of the more intense tenor sax work you’ll likely hear. It’s a coherent and structured endeavor, where song-form and furious improvisation attain a fruitful coexistence. Here, sax icons David Liebman and Ellery Eskelin engage modern jazz with the fortitude of two warriors armed and ready for battle. Consequently, the quartet does indeed convey a spirited, group-centric line of fire.
Liebman’s longtime bassist Tony Marino and Eskelin’s musical comrade and drummer Jim Black provide a largely, explosive underpinning for the dual sax attack. They execute loose grooves while generating quite a bit of heat throughout. Black’s quirky yet power-packed backbeats in concert with Marino’s pumping lines augment the saxophonists’ weaving choruses and knotty unison phrasings.On the piece titled "The Decider," the band soars skyward atop a scorching rock pulse, awash with the hornists’ wailing extended notes and free-jazz breakout. They also delve into bop and free-bop via rip-roaring solos and furious cadences, evidenced on Eric Dolphy’s "Out There (take 2)." No doubt, these are men on a mission. During other regions of this outing, the band tackles the blues, while offering sublime, late-night environs amid angular dissections and edgy phrasings. And on the final track, listed as "take 1" of Dolphy’s "Out There," the saxophonists pull out the proverbial stops via the hard bop approach. (Essential listening)