Steve Lantner Trio Saying So

The "marketing hook" for this record is that this is celebrated avant-guitarist Joe Morris's first recording on bass. I feared Morris's busy style wouldn't translate to bass, but he's found a unit in which it works. Lantner is a truly interesting player whose phrasing is as slow moving as Morris is active. This isn't to say that he's relaxed or boring, rather he knows how to stretch out and dissect long phrases while reserving his faster playing for commentary with the other players. Even in "Under the Sun," at almost 30 minutes, the listener still wants to know where Lantner is going to end up melodically. Balancing Morris and Lantner is drummer Laurence Cook, who brings a Steve McCall-like sensibility. He's no power drummer, but instead goes for tones and melodies on his kit, leading to gentler rhythms that nonetheless drive each song forward. At any moment band members may be playing furiously or glacially, but with the absence of aggressive snares, accented beats or high volume, the complex improvising is inviting to listen to. This release comes from Morris's Riti label, distributed by Aum Fidelity, which promises great things to come. (Aum Fidelity)