Active Listening offers a lesson in the kind of spontaneous trio interaction pioneered by the Bill Evans trios. Pianist Paul Rinzler is Director of Jazz Studies at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). With colleagues (and former students) Jeff Norwood on bass and Darrell Voss on drums, Rinzler demonstrates how an improvised piece can start with a simple idea (a chord progression or germ of a melody, for instance) and gradually take form to emerge as a unified whole through the interactive contributions of each group member. Hence the album's title. The end product in this case is satisfying, relatively mainstream music in a variety of tempos. All works are original and credited to the leader, although it's evident that most are the spontaneous creations of the trio.