Don’t you love being lulled into a false sense of sonic security? Here it’s silvery guitar arpeggios and quivering flute doing the lulling, before the reverie is brutally gate-crashed by a descending ensemble figure and then one of those intriguingly ambiguous grooves that flirts with swing and funk simultaneously. Guitarist Zane Carney is among the many current US West Coast players to have clustered around the Orenda label, and whose love of jazz and improvisation is matched by a fondness for the grinding grooves and scalding textures of rock.
To play this music convincingly you have to genuinely love the ferocity: the snarling guitar and wall-cracking backbeats, and clearly Carney, Katisse Buckingham (flute, alto saxophone), Jerry Watts Jr (bass) and Gene Coye (drums) all do. They can also knock out a quick-fire reading of Sonny Rollins’ bop classic Oleo with panache, although that could be perceived as a slightly redundant exercise in proving their jazz credentials. I prefer the tsunamis of improvised sound, swirls of psychedelia, metallic veneers and prog-rock intricacies, through and over which Carney and Buckingham’s solos skate so fluently. An expert mix makes the instruments aptly fat, too.