Mike Murley's Extra Time (Cornerstone) shows why the he is one of Canada's most highly regarded jazz musicians. The album features seven Murley compositions, some of them suggesting that the word "planned" might be more accurate than "composed." His "Open Segment," for example, gives the impression of having been freely improvised. And there are sections of other pieces that seem that way as well. Certainly, none of them could be called "tunes" in the ordinary sense. This is strictly instrumental music, and along with its moments of straightahead swinging are many passages where the time is more flexible and the solos (as well as the backgrounds) more exploratory.
The consummate skill of the performers and their familiarity with each other assure that the finished product is of high quality. With a secure technique and well-controlled tone, tenorist/sopranoist Murley negotiates the intricacies of his music imaginatively and with apparent ease. Together, he, trumpeter/flugelhornist John McLeod, pianist Dave Restivo, bassist Jim Vivian and drummer Ted Warren-all top-notch experienced players-constitute a highly cohesive unit.