They are highly animated – alarming, dramatic and edgy and the whole performance is honest, immersive and intuitive.

Released by Pyroclastic Records CD PR24

Ingrid Laubrock – tenor and soprano saxophones; Mazz Swift – violin; Tomeka Reid – cello; Brandon Seabrook – guitar; Michael Formanek – double bass; Tom Rainey – drums

Recorded at Firehouse 12, New Haven, Connecticut, USA September 2019

It has been a long time since Ingrid Laubrock visited us here in Cardiff at the CaféJazz venue: nearly 21 years too long in fact.  Back in those days her typical outfit would be no larger than a quartet, but her development over so many years has seen her pushing out the boat with a larger group – here a sextet – which means she has more tools with which to manipulate her compositional palette. Not just the tools, but also the artists who will manipulate them, for this sextet is a brilliant outfit.

Mazz Swift for example is known as a composer, conductor, singer, bandleader, educator, and Juilliard-trained violinist, who has performed on many of the world’s greatest stages.  Cellist Tomeka Reid was described by the New York Times as a “New Jazz Power Source” and she has developed as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community.

The male players are no walkovers either.  Brandon Seabrook is known as a fiercely dexterous musician – guitarist, banjoist, and composer, who has established himself as one of the most potent guitarists of his generation.  Bass player Formanek’s band Thumbscrew was described as “One of the most exciting bands currently playing” while Tom Rainey is delineated as a leading drummer in the world of creative jazz and improvisation, whose playing brings momentum, nuance, and a wide dynamic range. He is almost ‘Laubrock’s percussion partner’ – so many recordings together.

Laubrock’s composing is prodigious, her pieces posing musical assembly against spontaneous inventiveness.  Within their bounds are copious occasions for the musicians to explore their creative capabilities and they are well equipped to work at this level, as they are some of the premium musicians on the contemporary, creative improv and music scene.

They are highly animated – alarming, dramatic and edgy and the whole performance is honest, immersive and intuitive.

This is an album that demands your attention and while you’re listening, do some ruminating too.  It won’t be reassuring, but it will help one to enjoy music which is by no means ‘easy listening’, but is absolutely delightful from start to finish.