DELIRIUM poses the never-ending question to me: how can this work so well? I think that it can be compared to a recipe. All the right ingredients are here and the mixture, the texture, the blend are each satisfying to the point that I want to keep listening, keep enjoying, keep tasting...Coming down to it, I can say that the CD just cooks...
The instrumentation is perfect for the improvisation: Ori Kaplan on alto, Tom Abbs on tuba and bass, Geoff Mann on trumpet and drums, and Steve Swell on trombone. All the compositions are Kaplan originals except for one in which the entire foursome is credited and another is from pianist, Carla Bley.
The rhythmic nature of this CD is captivating. It is complemented and heightened by the harmonies struck often by the superb alto and trombone duo. There is a good, solid handful of tunes which are presented throughout the eight cuts. But these tunes quickly dissolve into invention where the alto and trombone are either soloing or moving in and out of each other's lines imperceptibly. The drums and bass (sometimes replaced by the tuba) combination are indispensable to this group. These two become glue for the total consistency of the CD. Mann is an outstanding drummer. His playing seems to conduct the entire ensemble. Abbs is an equally fine bassist and tuba-ist. Swell makes the trombone seem like an easy instrument to play. And Kaplan deserves everything for putting this group together.
I hear some Parkeresque-ness in the fast pace of the melodic lines that structure the pieces. Yet, I say to that: Oh, my God, I know too much. I am beginning to pick up on what is there and putting into history. My intention is not to do that. I hear this CD as it is. I hear some phrases on the alto that evoke Kurt Weill. But for the most part, what this CD does do is maintain a metaphor that predominates the titles. It is about space and moving in it with careful abandon.