Both/And is more world music than jazz, befitting Moving Pictures, a malleable group of improvisers composer and percussionist Adam Rudolph helped form in 1992. The pieces included here are pensive even at their briefest; the clearest antecedent is the dawning fusion of Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way, but there’s more, from the sprung blues of “Love’s Light” to the prickly jungle clatter of “Blues in Orbit.” The sonics are all over the place, spanning saxophonist Ralph M. Jones’ squonk forays on “Dance Drama Part 2,” the string pastorale of the title track, and the interplay between Jones’ soprano and Organic Orchestra Strings on “Tree Line (Call),” a sumptuous, even romantic, track.
Like the instrumentation, Rudolph’s notation and compositional method are unorthodox, to say the least. He writes from “matrices,” creating environments in which musicians are free to vamp and traverse wide intervals. To fully understand the underpinnings of this CD project, one would have to attend a Rudolph concert, followed by an explicatory workshop. But in the meantime, Both/And—unpredictable and liberating, a record that takes its own sweet and spiky time—stands well enough on its own.