Gerry Hemingway Quartet: Devils Paradise

Devils Paradise (Clean Feed), the new quartet disc by Gerry Hemingway, forges ahead as well-unflinchingly and with highly rewarding results. The progressive percussionist, known equally for his compositional skills, joins once again with his virtuoso peers: trombonist Ray Anderson, bassist Mark Dresser and tenor saxophone Ellery Eskelin. Together this established ensemble navigates Hemingway’s compositions with supreme skill, managing both his labyrinthine melodies and his sudden, seismic shifts in tempo and mood. More important, the group plays without apparent strain, dashing through tunes like “If You Like” with an intense but ultimately freewheeling air. Fans of Hemingway’s output will recognize most of the tunes assembled, but these interpretations are effectively a breed apart. More accessible but no less adventurous than most of his previous efforts, Devils Paradise should be of interest to any listener with a yen for the sound of surprise.