Scot Ray Quintet: Active Vapor Recovery (2003)
In your face. That's how the Scot Ray Quintete's Active Vapor Recovery starts out on "Three Quarks." It has to do with attitude and Ray's axe: the trombone, an inherently in-your-face instrument. Ditto for the electric violin (Jeff Gauthier) and the electric guitar in the hands of Nels Cline. Wailing guitar chops and searing violin, combined with the forthright brass attack of the trombone.
The disc goes full-throttle for the most part, with some solid grooves matched with accessibility. Some funk, some loud avant jazz; and also some wandering sonic introspection.
The third tune, "Shiny Object," cooks with electric heat, Nels Cline's guitar simmering behind the front line trombone and violin interplay. "In Cleveland" almost sounds like 'In Detroit,' a trombone/guitar Motown sound...or on second thought, more like a James Brown groove, slashing chords, driving brass.
"Man With Kite" is the highlight, a ten minute mini-symphony opening with a wandering trombone and violin unison line, the rhythm section eventually gelling into a liquid groove. "Bitterroot," the closer, is a relaxed back porch moan that evokes wide open skies at dusk, a waning day holding hope for the future.
The odd instrumental mix here works beautifully on the hard driving barn burners and slower, more introspective pieces too.
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Track Listing: Three Quarks, Above Breath, Shiny Object, In Cleveland, Man as Kite, Scarabaeus, Trouble with Sugar, Active Vapor Recovery, Bitteroot
Personnel: Scot Ray, trombone; Jeff Gauthier, electric violin; Nels Cline, electric guitar; Steuart Liebig, contrabassguitars; Alex Cline, drums, percussion