Guitarist Michael Musillami and bassist Mario Pavone come together on Motion Poetry as familiar, seasoned players. Their quartet recording with pianist Peter Madsen and drummer Michael Sarin is not only a long-overdue undertaking for them, but an ear-treat for the listener as well. The pair first met after Musillami relocated in 1981 from his native California to the East Coast. Over the years, they worked together with various drummers in the house rhythm section at the Hillside Club in Waterbury, Conn. Before going their separate ways, they also performed and recorded with the sextet Motation (which included the late Thomas Chapin).
There's much to praise about their tight collaborations and choice of side mates. Madsen's an inspired player in the spotlight and Sarin is always inventive as he punches up from under. Performing a mixture of their individual originals and tunes by former collaborators (Marty Ehrlich and Chapin), they carve some new, fine-spun soundscapes together, evident on Pavone's driving bopper "3M Blues"; Musillami's long, lyrical "Emmett Spencer" and his punchy finale, "Archives," and Pavone's power-packed, jumpy, modal "Song for M." Although this is an effort of polished teamwork, Musillami's approach and technique reign supreme as he carries most of the melodies and solos with astonishing ingenuity and precision.