Some cranky old guy once yelled in NY (or was it PA?), "you crazy kids and your damned jazz!" He must’ve been yelling at/about this lot, the Thread Quintet, as they are a rather irreverent bunch. These quintuplet sons of Anthony Braxton are a Chicago-based ensemble that balances knotty compositions with free blowing, straightahead swing with thorny abstraction, hard bop and brainy diagrams. These originals of bassist Brain Diblee are clearly compositions, not merely "blowing vehicles," redolent slightly of Dave Holland’s 80s ECM recordings. "No Shade of Red" and "Seams" have punchy, twisting melodies that recall Ken Vandermark and the instrumental writing of Frank Zappa - on the former, Dave Rempis’ fluid, vocalized alto echoes Zorn and Dolphy. On "Hand Impairment," Keefe Jackson’s tenor wails and skronks with an abandon that’s tempered by admirable restraint and focus. The sparse, sublimely pensive "Long Lines" has the feel of a classical chorale, but with bluesy undertones - the Third Stream/proto-avant influence of Jimmy Giuffre is filtered through the Afro-scientific schemes of Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman, on which Jackson’s clarinet makes with the bereaved tears of sound. Another selling point is their unison horn lines, which are rendered with sterling (also refreshing) precision (later w/ that raggedy rag) and Frank Rosaly’s crisp, understatedly propulsive drumming. The only real downside to this platter is that is doesn’t come close to capturing the vivacity this band generates in live performance - at times, the tone of this recording is a tad hygienic. But the music itself is fine, and this disc shows the Thread Quintet is, to coin a cliché, a Windy City band to watch.