With every bass note plucked, Bob Bowen (Mr. "B") seems to add weight to already heavy eyelids. His bass notes slip in and out of the spaces and dark sound from Matt Wilson's kit (Mr. "M"). Wilson saves his high-energy antics for his own quartet and here keeps a subtle hand. Ohad Talmor (Mr. "O"), the saxophonist behind The Other Quartet, wends his dry, Konitzlike tenor through the group's drowsy, lyrical compositions with deadpan humor and an affecting plain spokenness. His dynamics begin at triple pianissimo and rarely range above mezzo forte and he seldom loses himself in thickets of notes.
This music almost belongs to the 4 a.m. jazz show, to the car radio for the long ride back from the city. The ballads, sinewy and stark, seem to infect even the more spirited numbers; the funky stuff-upbeat, uptempo, aggressive or otherwise-still sounds nocturnal and loose-limbed. On "Funk Assembly," Wilson's thrilling, last-possible-moment beats rescue the groove from oblivion every other bar. The trio turns up the energy levels on the bony "Slog," but Wilson's chilly touch on the cymbals and Talmor's laconic delivery keep it distanced. The best of it, however, comes on the ballads. "Compulsion" and the Bowen/Talmor duet "Surround," sound so good, they almost deserve their own mini CD.