Initially the rhythm stumbles with the broken motion of a leg in a splint, while the alto skates blithely by, before drummer Dan Weiss starts treating the thrumming insistence of Matthew Brewer’s bass as something to be tamed rather than healed. Trumpeter Ralph Alessi has already cauterised the groove his own way when Tineke Postma’s alto re-enters, and you hear her unique contextual slants, so rhythms can be subtexts to her melodies as much as inevitabilities, and how concision can be kneecapped by surprise.
On some pieces, including Aspasia and Pericles, the rhythm section is garlanded by Kris Davis’s piano, and the melody is almost painfully beautiful, like being ambushed by a memory one had done one’s best to bury. Postma achieves an exultant lightness of tone playing soprano, while on alto her sound can be dark and slightly dangerous. This is her first album as leader for six years, the US-based Dutch saxophonist having enjoyed associations with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. She boasts an impressive clarity of conception in the way the improvising and the compositions interact, so solos are never mere decorations, but deeper channels whose surfaces shimmer with constant change.