Rich Halley Back From Beyond

This record features big sounds, plenty of chops and lots of lightning-quick interactions. Based in Portland, OR, tenor saxophonist Rich Halley has a rugged, brawny tone that's compelling. While he plays free, he swings like mad, as do his worthy colleagues: Carson Halley on drums, Clyde Reed on bass and Michael Vlatkovich on trombone. The tunes range from the loose-limbed muscularity of opener "Spuds" to the funky themed "Section Three." "Reorbiting (for Sun Ra)" has dialogues and a trialogue that have the conversation moving intriguingly back and forth. The group switch between group improv and soloist/rhythm sections on a dime, with deceptive effortlessness. This kind of interplay comes from years of playing together, locking into one another's thought patterns and, especially, being generous/gracious enough to allow another to lead without hogging the spotlight. And these guys know their tradition. There are sly references to Sonny Rollins, Roswell Rudd and Ed Blackwell deeply woven into the fabric of their interactions. This is solid music worth checking out. (Pine Eagle)