Canadian multi-reedist Glen Hall is noted for pushing the envelope, largely within modern jazz and free improvisational domains. This trio release exemplifies that notion rather poignantly. His interesting compositional concepts reflect learning from the masters, while concurrently sculpting his own voice. The band slices up time signatures; Hall and the rhythm section execute contrapuntal maneuvers, all within a semi-structured format. Within various cycles, bassist Michael Morse engages in counter-harmonies with Hall, providing an interesting balance for Joe Sorbara’s rim shots and over-the-top maneuvers.

The band is apt to delve into a hustle and bustle groove, often complementing its geometrically designed themes. On “Radius,” Hall pursues a subversive yet quite colorful avant garde blues mode, eliciting an after-hours vibe. In other spots, they render crash and burn frameworks with stop/start motifs. Sorbara transmits his all-encompassing musicality by using various cymbals and small percussion instruments, bringing world music and tonal shadings into play.

Then on “Vertex,” Hall’s slightly gruff flute work contrasts nicely with Morse’s rough-hewn arco passages. Nonetheless, Hall’s theorizations and applications offer a striking portrait of a mature artist who enters the studio with a concrete game plan. This stuff is miles ahead of your typical free jazz cutting session, where vast expression equates to wantonly produced cacophony. Recommended.

-- Glen Astarita; allaboutjazz [dot] com (28/03/2006)

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