A Few Dozen
Guitarist/composer Bruce Arnold's latest effort comes off like an earnest exercise in a Berklee composition class. Imagine writing, playing and improvising on 12-tone jazz tunes. Even fans of Schoenberg and Webern might scratch their pointy heads over these mixed results. On the plus side, it helps to have Arnold's tone and chops, not to mention the sympathetic support of bassist Ratzo Harris and drummer Tony Moreno. There are also a few nice moments, including the pastoral "Reflection," the (relatively) straightahead "7th Street" and Harris' solo on "Dialog." Still, it's obviously a struggle for even these talented players to improvise on tone rows. Which prompts the question-why would you want to?