Percussionist Rader and reed player Schwarz organized a most intriguing quintet. Featuring the expressive tenor of Schwarz and the ringing violin excursions from Bang as a focal point for soloing, the music is enveloped with a plethora of electronic sounds produced through the synthesizer of Johnson. The combination works exceedingly well. Rader’s driving drumming and the propulsion generated by the ceaseless and furious bass of Schuller set the stage for many moving passages of high creativity. Rader plays either freely or with a defined rhythm, but his sound is fully motivating. It encourages Bang to veer off into some extremely adventurous areas where self-expression dominates. Likewise, Schwarz takes his tenor to far-flung places where he blows sustained power and authority. His dueling with Bang is spirited and at times hectic, as when they go toe to toe on “Wave Ripple”. Schwarz emits an irregular stream of notes that are juxtaposed against Bang’s strings to create gripping tonality.
The set is a diverse mix of music touching on ethereal plateaus and concrete vistas. It spans the spectrum from free blowing barnburners to rhythmic excursions with a raga base. Bang is as his experimental best on this date. He plays with abandon, filling the air with improvised delight while Rader and Schuller prod a though on forced march. Nine of the ten selections are full-group compositions, which further substantiates the dynamic collectiveness of the quintet. The recording represents the intelligent and creative use of electronics to augment fully the efforts of the other musicians. Johnson mixes his electronics wisely to ensure naturalness is preserved even when the electronic percussion is employed.
It is hard to single out any one artist on this disc. Each makes enormous contributions that combine to produce group effort of the highest standard. Bang is exhilarating, Schuller is a power source, Rader overwhelms with intricate patterns, Schwarz blows at breakneck speed, and Johnson augments their output with creativity of his own. Together they work wonders.
- Frank Rubolino