Klang Tea Music

The first recording of Chicago clarinettist James Falzone's quartet, Klang come on strong, with bold playing, smart compositions and empathetic group interactions. Drummer Tim Daisy's "Fickle" moves forward insistently, shifting rhythms while Falzone blows forcefully and vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz meets him head-on with strong mallet work. "Lament on Ash Wednesday" features a pensive melody underscored by throbbing toms courtesy of the always-resourceful Daisy. Things keep swinging throughout the proceedings. Tunes like the leader's "No Milk" dance with Giuffre-esque assurance, buoyed by the rubbery bass lines of Jason Roebke. Falzone's "#32 Busonius" is a feisty piece, with darting interplay involving the whole group; it's busy but never clumsy. What makes for such pleasing listening is the beautiful blending of the warm clarinet and the glistening sheen of the vibes — a really cool combination. One quibble: the recording's mix, especially the clarinet and bass, is a bit harsh. Still, Tea Music is steeped in the modern jazz tradition and is all the better for it. Definitely check this out. (AllosDocuments)