Spring Heel Jack/The Blue Series Continuum Masses

A much anticipated project finally surfaces. So often when electronicists who are identified with club and rave music approach jazz, ill-advised insipidly sunny grooves result. Spring Heel Jack are no ordinary programmers, and the jazz masters they've hooked up aren't content to simply solo over a beat. Masses attempts to blaze a new trail for electronics and jazz freedom to work together. The programming is very restrained, there is less of an emphasis on sequences and more on letting things happen and processing the results. Sure there are drums, and some bass (William Parker having lots of fun), but no drum and bass. Tim Berne, Daniel Carter and Roy Campbell are the front line reeds and brass. Special guest Evan Parker has worked with one generation after another of experimental groove-ologists in his 30 year career, and his circular breathing serves as a better timekeeping element here than the few rhythm loops the Jacks have programmed. Spring Heel Jack fans may be disappointed with the lack of beats, and the electronics overall are more peripheral than integral to the overall sound. As a result, Masses seems half formed and doesn't bear repeated listening. I bet the Jacks will assert themselves more on the remix project which will no doubt follow. (Thirsty Ear)