From Bacteria To Boys Betweenwhile

Aum Fidelity is somewhat identified with the work of William Parker, but lately there have been a couple of releases that feature, in the words of sports fans, "hot prospects." One of them is saxophonist Darius Jones, who has graced three releases in the past 18 months. In most sax/piano/bass/drums quartets he'd be called the leader, but here he's playing on drummer Mike Pride's team. At its best, Betweenwhile is a very team-oriented record, channelling hip-hop's hypnotic loops within a stimulating, soulful musical environment featuring detailed compositions and bracing improv. Hard charging compositions "Reese Witherspoon" and "It Doesn't Stop" take powerful, avant-funky grooves and lead them into thrilling twists and turns. The discipline of the band is truly impressive, with any given member holding the same note or riff for ages then suddenly plunging into a completely different musical atmosphere. Less impressive are the more conventional soul jazz tracks like "Emo Hope," which magnify Pride's tendency to overwrite melodies. The playing by all is impressive throughout, and the disc is another bold statement of how contemporary jazz musicians make sense of all that's come before while still keeping a solid grounding in the popular music of today. (Aum Fidelity)