Bill Gerhardt & Cotangent: Stained Glass

The second disc from pianist Bill Gerhardt’s inventive Cotangent quartet has a coolly sober air, with serious but approachable playing and thoughtfully intricate compositions contributed by each member of the group. Gerhardt leads with a solid, confident touch, avoiding excessive ornamentation while describing scenes of melancholy beauty, and saxophonist Marc Mommaas alternates lilting solos with furtive, scurrying asides. An element of exoticism creeps into the most interesting numbers, with “Visitor” and the title track carrying a distinctly Eastern melodic vibe, creating portraits of angularity and mystery.