The Core is led by drummer Espen Aalberg, and his playing-busy and powerful but not distracting or overwhelming-is front and center on Vision (Jazzaway). On "Pharoah" (written by bassist Steinar Raknes) and "7th Father" the music builds like mid-'60s Coltrane, with Erlend Slettevoll playing McCoy Tyner to Kjetil Moster's John Coltrane. Moster overblows his sax, but not with Ayler-esque screams. He often stays in the middle register, sometimes sliding out of intonation as he forces a gale-force of air through his horn. For the riveting "Zaire," a traditional African song, the band based its arrangement on that of saxophonist Courtney Pine from his 1991 Verve album Within the Realms of Our Dreams. The Core doubles up the theme's ostinato with low-end piano and bass, making for a rich dark sound before the music opens up to brighter tonal colors.
Vision's five tunes are all uptempo and fierce, but not in a free-jazz way. The band is simply on fire and doesn't want to douse the flames by cooling out on a track, which is fine by me.