Ron McClure's Match Point (Steeplechase) certainly goes somewhere, by combining contemporary and mainstream. That amalgam jumps right out of "Cellular Expansion," mainly a showcase for drummer Jeff Brillinger, but it's fascinating to hear McClure's nonstop bass comments, from pedal points to double stops, behind the kit. McClure's challenging head reveals excellent chemistry between tenor saxophonist Jed Levy and guitarist Bob DeVos. It's DeVos who comes up with the trickiest bop line of all in his reworking of "Yesterdays" called "In Search of Times Lost." He manages to obscure the cycle of fourths so effectively, I would never have guessed it was based on the Kern classic.
Some of McClure's finest solo moments come in "Walter Davis," a tribute to the late pianist by McClure. Taken at a relaxed groove, the tune allows McClure to show his melodic chops. Elsewhere, he does what a bassist should do (leader or not): he propels his colleagues to lay back and float down the mainstream, as on DeVos' gentle "Shorter Story." Here's hoping this two-year-old combo stays together.