May 1999

Mark Whitecage 4Tet & Joseph Scianni Trio
3+4=5
CIMP Recordings

Whitecage and Scianni honor the integrity of improvisation while allowing the fancifully irrepressible and the humorous the most mileage. They and their cohorts apply technique to depiction; Whitecage and cellist Tomas Ulrich portray the insect roar of "Broadway Two Step"; "Office People" comes off as a parody on robots; "Mozambique" is wildly danceable and affecting. The reedist and pianist can lead this shifting quintet through this approach by virtue of each's authority of five decades of experience, and as muralists of sorts they revel equally in the expressionistic and the subtle. The trio of Scianni, Dominic Duval on bass and Jay Rosen, drums, is fairly ruminant on "Moonlight and Martinis," and a second trio featuring Scianni with alto and cello takes us "Through the Tunnel" like Alice going to and back from the Millennium. Expect no complacency. Like several pieces here, "August Wind" begins in the dog days; then the gusts catch us off guard before the mood settles down.

Originally published in May 1999
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