By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
By Steve Weinstein
By Araceli Cruz
Trio, Pitch, Rhythm, and Consciousness (new artists)
Luckily, "consciousness" seems to refer to three instrumentalists tuned into one another's thoughts, rather than anything cosmic. Tenor saxophonist Tony Jones—who stays rooted near his horn's bottom register as if going higher would bring temptation to upset the conversational balance with a scream—is the band's leader in all but name, and the collective improvisations that move along most purposefully are two for which he provides compositional road maps (the unabashedly lyrical, lonely-as-a-cloud "Dear Toy," especially). But with percussionist Kenny Wollesen's gongs and temple bells establishing a mood of intense contemplation and violinist Charles Burnham matching Jones, keen for keen and infinitesimal microtone for infinitesimal microtone (whether bowing or plucking), everything on this vinyl-only release is quietly riveting, and worth retrieving your old turntable from the basement for.
And, finally, an announcement. Although my byline might continue to appear in the Voice from time to time, this is my last regular (or semi-regular) column. Taking the reins from Gary Giddins was no easy feat, and I hope I've maintained the same high level of inquiry these past eight years. I'm especially proud of conducting this paper's annual jazz critics' poll; this year's is already under way as you read this, and results will be posted on rhapsody.com soon after the new year.