June 1997

East Down Septet
Channel Surfing
HEP Records

As the title suggests, this New York-based ensemble rides the tides of various musical waters ranging from mock-surf rock to cerebral free jazz yearnings. Unfortunately, with all its lofty ambitions and cutting-edge lineup, which includes French horn player Tom Varner, bari-saxophonist Jim Hartog, and trumpeter Ron Horton, their erratic ventures never take flight. The soft-focused arrangements tend to be heavy-handed, while the ensemble playing is all too staid. Although there is some noteworthy group empathy, the chamber-like stateliness of Horton's arrangements and the ultra-elusiveness of the players makes Channel Surfing a frigid offering.

Originally published in June 1997
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