Jacob William, bass; Ed Nicholson, drums and toy piano; Rolf Schloenvogt, tenor sax; Michael Beck, piano; Stephen Kontrimas, drums

In the liner notes, these Berklee students (who come from the United States, India, Germany, and Switzerland) thank Ran Blake, Jerry Bergonzi, Joanne Brackeen, and Kenny Werner, who, if they weren't personal instructors, have nonetheless left the foursome with a similar appreciation for musical identity.The mood is generally dark and the playing plenty thick, as a group had better be able to demonstrate in Boston where the Jazz competition is nearly as fierce as in NYC. There's an intentional skirting of each song's tonal center, an enticing approach that seduces us into repeated listening. As in impressionist music, the quartet's players build on ideas seductively and only partially stated. Such intense Jazz is, unfortunately, over the heads of many who need to be reinforced by that tonic chord every twelve bars or so. Such tethered Jazzers might want to experiment with the freedom these trailblazers incorporate.

by Dave McElfresh

New Sounds - CD Reviews March 2000