Time and time again I have railed against slipshod/self-indulgent/meandering/purposeless free improvisation - there’s a lot of people engaging in same who should know better. Lucky for them and us, these guys know better from the git-go. Perhaps it’s because Misters Goodman, Kaiser and Ligeti have an actual history with each other, or that they (or Kaiser and Ligeti, at least, as I’m not too familiar w/ Goodman) also regularly engage in kinds of music-making that is not entirely free-improv. (Kaiser: rock, Nordic and Malagasy folk; Ligeti: notated composition for classical ensembles, Afro-pop.) These three fellows just sat down one day in 1996 and played, but they listened to each other closely while they did it, displaying some mercurial interplay, each drawing on his own massive bag o’ tricks. Kaiser chases the ghosts of Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia jamming in the Great Hearafter, and plays some rippling bass a la Jack Bruce on "Iron King." Ligeti matches Goodman’s free impressionism, but his Secret Identity (for the purposes of this session) is Mr. Rhythm (especially on "Blind Site"). No, you won’t tap your foot or mistake him for Chick Webb or Gene Krupa, but he adds a definite rhythmic impetus and focus to the proceedings with his brittle-sounding drumming. (Whereas far too many free-improv types act like "rhythm" is a downright disgrace or gross sellout to the forces of The Man.) Goodman plays in a spiky, Cecil Taylor-like fashion, but he gets lyrical (abstractly) on "The Green Child" and draws a sound from the piano on "Riddled" that vividly resembles a Japanese koto. This trio knows when to let it bleed, and when to ease up and let the sounds find each other. Heavy Meta is unlikely to win many converts to the rarified realm of group improvisation, but for them that relish it, this is one of the better, most cohesive examples of same I’ve heard in quite a while (years, maybe).