Okkyung Lee / Peter Evans / Steve Beresford Check for Monsters

Cellist Okkyung Lee, trumpeter Peter Evans and British pianist Steve Beresford give amusing answers to a questionnaire that provides the liner notes to this uncompromising hour-long set of music. Precisely played pianisms meld with bracing brass blasts, accompanied by scabrous cello scrapes, to form the ebb and flow of 15-minute first improvisation "Phacthio," recorded at NYC avant venue Roulette. Track two, "Yinothanot," takes up where its predecessor left off, with a strong piano and trumpet foreground, but Lee's cello, while definitely engaged in the flurry of activity, takes up a background role in the dense soundscape. Evans' trumpet really digs in, with multiple onslaughts of motivic and scalar patterns that wrap themselves organically around the piano's active escapades. It is when the piano drops out that the cello comes into its own, something that could have happened more often for a more balanced result. (Emanem)