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Plenty happens on the latest Outside in Music compilation. Live at Pinch Recording Volume 2 offers an introduction to a slew of the label’s signees — a taste of what each has to offer, adding up to a full, varied meal. But rather than submitting a track of past efforts, the assorted musicians gathered at Long Island’s Pinch to cut live-in-the-studio efforts that brim with good spirits.
First up is “Fa(C)t” from pianist Kengchakaj, whose sprightly runs are supplemented by the brassy efforts of trombonist Michael Wang, tenor saxophonist Peter Anderson and alto saxophonist Will Anderson, plus bassist André Carvalho and drummer Dan Pugach. The number eschews long solos for quick exchanges that combine to produce the equivalent of a happy, exuberant conversation — an ideal summation of the concept as a whole.
The cuts that follow exude a similar sense of fellowship. The amusingly titled “Erroneous Monk,” from pianist Jason Yeager, is an easy swinger that gets a low-end boost from the two-trombone force of Peter Nelson and OiM founder Nick Finzer, whose own spotlight segment, “The Evolution of Perspective,” is a compelling, multi-faceted sonic journey to which Yeager ably contributes. Carvalho’s “Iktsuarpok” finds the bassist generously making room for sensuous turns by Kengchakaj and Wang, while “One for Oriol” gives tenor saxophonist Lluc Casares a chance to blow up a storm in the fine company of Yeager, trombonist Peter Nelson, bassist Dan “Chimy” Chmielinski and drummer Jimmy Macbride. Equally enjoyable is the contrast between contemplative efforts from trombonists Seth Weaver (“Anguilla”) and Nick Grinder (“Look”) and the florid improvisations that spark alto saxophonist Caleb Curtis’ “Reanimation” and tenor saxophonist Paul Jones’ “Trio.”
A sonic revolution isn’t the goal here. The focus remains on collaboration and camaraderie, and the album succeeds on both counts. — Michael Roberts