Between The Lines
Bassist and composer John Lindberg had already recorded with this group on the forebodingly titled Ruminations Upon Ives and Gottschalk, but he enjoyed playing with them on tour so much he sent them back into the studio. The graceful Winter Birds opens with a series of short sketches, none of them approaching three minutes in length. Longer pieces make up the rest of the recording, but here Lindberg tends to include sections where the band breaks down into duos or trios, giving even the longer pieces a sense of smaller scale.
A founding member of the String Trio of New York, Lindberg characteristically creates improvisational music with a quiet, European cast. The more traditional sounds of jazz and the blues are never too far away, however. His latest drummer, Susie Ibarra, works very well in this context-shifting easily from spacious, textural improvisation to a brisk swing and back again. The two hornmen who complete the quartet-trumpeter Baikida Carroll and multi-instrumentalist Steve Gorn-also sound just right. The two flutter and dart above the rhythm section with an airy detachment at times but seldom without the cry of the blues.