Erik Friedlander: Chimera

Cellist Erik Friedlander cavorts on freely improvised, classically tinged, surreal melodies performed with bassist Drew Gress, clarinetist Chris Speed, and bass clarinetist Andrew D’Angelo. Containing highly imaginative, artistic chamber-jazz, Chimera finds these gifted musicians in tight, tonally colorful interactions and crackling solo moments that draw the most from their acoustic instruments. Everyone excels. While all of their music is pleasing, at 10:54 minutes, the album centerpiece, “Blind Tiger” (titled after potent homemade brew made by Everglades natives at the turn of the century), is a devilishly clever spree. Chimera is such a soul-satisfying listen, you’ll want to settle into an easy chair, close your eyes, and let the spontaneous, songful music conjure up blithe images.