Dead Cat Bounce Chance Episodes

There was a moment at the start of "Silent Movie, Russia 1995" when I thought I was hearing the sad, sustained sigh of an accordion. I wasn't ― three saxophones were being voiced together richly, beautifully, below a plaintive clarinet melody. Dead Cat Bounce are a Boston-based sextet with four horn players: Matt Steckler, Jared Sims, Terry Goss and Charlie Kohlhase. They do a great deal with texture on this album, creating a sort of chordal instrument from four saxophones and the occasional flute and clarinet. Their voicings are sturdy, colourful and satisfying; they're perfect emulsions. Drummer Bill Carbone and bassist Dave Ambrosio have a deep, rubbery connection, fitting in sobering bits of easy swing, rock and funk to situate the contrapuntal zigzag of the horns, which hint at bits of third stream, Charles Mingus and the World Saxophone Quartet. Steckler, this group's leader, was commissioned in 2003 by Chamber Music America to write the music for Chance Episodes. Seven years is an awfully long time to take to compose 11 songs, but it was time well spent. (Cuneiform)