Looking at these musicians’ resumes, it becomes clear that we’re in presence of top players: names such as Michael Bublé, the Cab Calloway Orchestra and Natalie Cole are mixed in with figures that count for something in most jazz circles. Professionals, you know. Then again, Matthew Maley (tenor sax and clarinet) and RJ Avallone (trumpet and wood flute) have been working together for over a decade, so their fusion of intents is more or less total. Add the sanctifying advice of Ornette Coleman, with whom these gentlemen “spent two years playing music and discussing life”, and the recipe is complete, starting from the very title, a response of sorts to the old master’s Tomorrow Is the Question. The quartet is completed by bassist David Moss and drummer Bryson Kern, both of them subtle and experienced players in their own right.
Expecting something along the lines of “harmolodic heritage”? Wide of the mark. Search play a brand of jazz that activates the mechanisms of mental subdivision, each instrumentalist pursuing a lonesome path that, miraculously, happens to be perfectly in tune with the collective endeavour. A track such as “Intentions” has a theme sharp enough to cut your fingers on, but it’s a pretext for the soloists to express a kind of cultivated independence where autonomous intelligence prevents the music from going astray. “The Laws of Gravity” is an intersection between ardour and classiness that sounds like authentic brotherhood, an enfranchisement from the systematic disrespect that can be observed in many similar musical situations, if one listens carefully. This gentlemanly approach characterizes the whole enterprise, which embodies the values that Avallone invokes in the press release: striving to “not rely on a notion of what is right or wrong, but what is true and honest”. While I’m enjoying the entrancing rhythm’n’flute-cum-ritual aroma of “Joujouka”, I can make the same wish – even though our current reality is far less congenial than this bright outing.