Rich Halley Requiem for a Pit Viper

A requiem is way too premature in tenor saxist Rich Halley's case. With a massive, masculine sound and chops aplenty, Halley sounds like he'll be burning for decades to come. And with a warm rapport with trombonist Michael Vlatkovich, the leader's ten compositions get excellent readings. "Snippet Stop Warp" finds the tenorist at his fiery funkiest ― with searing tone, his solo reveals itself gradually, from starting fragments to long, twisting lines proclaimed with raspy lustiness. Bassist Clyde Reed and Halley's drummer/son, Carson, lock into a mutating groove that's deceptively simple yet constantly changing, keeping everyone on their toes. "View from the Underpass" could be a lost track from Ornette on Tenor, with a wildly intense intro that moves into a pensive development of disparate motifs. Although the members of this quartet are clearly capable of structural complexity, tunes like "Circumambulation" are essentially simple, blues-based vehicles for spontaneous conversation. And the foursome take full advantage of the openness of the well-crafted formats. This is direct, affirmative music. (Pine Eagle)