A genuinely powerful record that reaches out to the far side of improvised music without getting lost there, Storyline is a triumph for trumpeter Raphe Malik.
The rousing, edgy postboppers "Minimal Blue," "Incalculable," "Ago (Go)" and "First Valve Blues" are tightly constructed showcases for Malik's broad, deep tone, long and strong melody lines and gut-punch extended techniques. Malik spent a long time with Cecil Taylor in the '70s, but Storyline is more reminiscent of the spirit of Taylor's late '50s music, where the avant-garde met bluesy hard bop. Drummer Codaryl "Cody" Moffett and bassist Cecil McBee give the trumpeter plenty of support, despite the absence of a chording instrument, making a firm bed for Malik to lay his horn on.
In addition to showcasing strong performances, the CD sounds great, even on my less-than-audiophile-quality home stereo, coming across like a live performance caught on tape by an expert engineer-which means that everything about this Storyline is compelling.