Steve Cohn Iro Iro

Steve Cohn’s history in improvised music spans cultures and forms but seems to have its conceptual base rooted in a strong sense of space and an awareness of the importance of personality in his collaborators. The ensemble includes Cohn on piano, shakuhachi, percussion and various winds, Masahiko Kono on trombone, Tomas Ulrich on cello and Kevin Norton on drums, vibes and percussion. The music on this CD bears out his intuition in those matters in a clear and precise way. Each piece is played with an attention to composition that is quite masterful even to those who have heard their share of improvised music. Harmonic/melodic sophistication, astute phrasing and the willingness to reference groove once in a while combine to relate cogent and developed thematic material that wastes neither time nor space in its execution. A more thorough exploration in the ebb and flow of restraint and intensity would be hard to find. (Red Toucan)