Like a kid in a candy store, a modern improvising musician is spoilt for choice. The infinite ways of melding composition and improvisation are compounded by infinite possible inputs from the gamut of jazz, classical and the deep pools of music in assorted cultures around the world. Australian alto saxophonist/composer Jonathon Crompton thought he might expand his horizons even further by moving to New York where, this album proves, he has found his own path through the labyrinth.
Crompton’s alto is variously joined by the tenors of Ingrid Laubrock, Patrick Breiner (also bass clarinet) and Patrick Booth, and the agile rhythm section of bassist Adam Hopkins and drummer Kate Gentile. Compositionally, some of Crompton’s most intriguing devices come in combining the saxophones to create swirls, rounds and wraith-like echoes. These may accelerate into wild spirals, take divergent paths to a destination, or, on Suite in A Major, keep you spell-bound with a tense, funereal beauty. Yet Crompton’s ingenuity never exists for its own sake. The music is always reaching out, touching, moving, warming or making your skin crawl, and his alto playing is as boldly distinctive as his composing.