Jeff Denson: Secret World

A founding member of Minsarah, the Brooklyn-based trio probably best known for its collaborations with Lee Konitz, accomplished bassist-composer Jeff Denson delivers 10 original gems on this precious quartet offering. The kindred personnel here are heavy: Ralph Alessi on trumpet, drummer Dan Weiss and Minsarah’s Florian Weber on piano. From the driving opener, “Rise,” with adventurous solos from Denson, Alessi and Weiss, to the somber “Autumn Song,” showcasing Denson’s haunting vocals, to the twisting groove and harmonic extrapolation on “Not Another Moment’s Thought,” this outing bristles with intelligence and passionate, unbridled improvisation.

The leader’s superb bowing is showcased on the dark, time-shifting “Where the Water Moves.” The lightly swinging 3/4 number “Merry-Go-Round” opens on a more mainstream note before gradually morphing into avant territory. Denson’s artfully crafted Horizon Suite: Setting Sun/Dusk/Nightfall traverses an array of moods, and the album closes with the dynamic, funk-laden “Dance of a Bittersweet Victory,” with Weber doubling on melodica.