This undeniably, smoking ‘80s progressive jazz unit, features the great British pianist Keith Tippett alongside luminaries such as trumpeter Jim Dvorak, trombonist Nick Evans and others. It’s a sextet, yet Tippett sits out on two tracks.
The band commenced as a trio, while evolving into a quintet and ultimately a six-piece. They skirt the free zone, spurred upon by funk grooves, ethereal soundscapes and cleverly enacted harmonic opuses. On several of these tracks, Tippetts executes booming crescendos augmented by massive block chords and trickling type accompaniment. Dvorak, Evans and saxophonist Gary Curson enjoy abundant soloing opportunities, amid rapidly paced unison choruses and warm melodies. However, on "The Priest, The Beast And The Rest Of Us," the band delves into an old-fashioned swing vibe. But the overriding factor is rooted within the ensemble’s unique musical identity, as even the familiar territory, sounds nouveau and refreshing. There’s a little for everyone during this downright, exciting program. (Strongly recommended.... )