This album marks a milestone in revered session drummer Adam Cruz’ career as he celebrates his debut as a leader. And he’s supported by instrumentalists who reside at the forefront of progressive-jazz. As a drummer, Cruz imparts a musicality steeped in subtle dynamics and snappy grooves while offering sensitive accompaniment throughout. He’s an accelerator as well, via the Latin-jazz element, dancing rim-shots, and polyrhythmic fills. From a holistic standpoint, he doesn’t steal the show, and the same can be cited for the band as a whole due to the democratic line of attack.
The album concept surges forth with a group-centric focus, consisting of triumphant theme-building forays and budding movements. Cruz is the strategist and seamlessly aligns the rhythmic components with pianist Edward Simon and bassist Ben Street. Moreover, several movements prompt notions of a tightly focused group pursuing its goals. Abetted by the musicians articulate soloing, the program offers a cogent blend of up-tempo passages, spiced with introspective tendencies.
Tenor saxophonist Chris Potter transmits a soul-searching gait on the blustery piece “Gadfly,” designed with shadowy hues and a few jaunts into the freer realm. Although “Resonance,” is engineered with dirge-like overtones but lacks a balanced harmonic foundation. In some spots, Cruz’ compositions are a tad open-ended, leaning more towards semi-structured soloing vehicles that generate varying degrees of interest. Otherwise, he generates a manifold schema, teeming with emotive properties and intriguing plots sans the routine modern jazz clichés and hasty soloing endeavors.