Review - The Bass and the Bird Pond

Artist: John Raskin Quartet

The Bass and the Bird Pond
Label: New World Records
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: The Bass and the Bird Pond

John Raskin is best known for his work with the ROVA Saxophone Quartet playing baritone and alto sax. Working on the strange cusp between avant-garde classical and jazz, Raskin has, like his ROVA compatriots, also taken part in side projects that enable him to stretch musical boundaries. In the case of his new disc, "The Bass and the Bird Pond," that means bonding with Tim Berne on alto, formidable bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer/cellist Elliot Kavee over the course of four challenging compositions.

"Bloodcount" leads off the program and shows the two reed players trading alto licks over turbulent rhythm patterns. This 22-minute opus is followed by three lengthy works by Raskin, with the title piece featuring his outrageous baritone artistry playing off against Berne's acerbic alto. Fans of cutting-edge jazz will find this an intriguing album and one worth repeated listening.