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Active Ingredients: Titration

In organic chemistry, the “active ingredients” of a pharmaceutical are those that deliver the intended results. “Titration” is a method of determining the concentration of dissolved solutions by applying trace amounts of reagents. Together the two terms conveniently describe the processes at play on this fierce and fascinating CD-as they should, since drummer Chad Taylor named both his ensemble and its debut recording with such chemical principles in mind.

Within progressive circles, Taylor is best recognized as a founding partner, with cornetist Rob Mazurek, of the Chicago Underground Duo, Trio and Quartet. Mazurek sits in on three tracks here, with typically sharp results. But Active Ingredients should be seen as a step away from the Underground enterprise. Its sensibilities encompass not only the Afrocentric abstractions of Chicago’s AACM but also the urgency of New York’s post-’60s avant-garde.

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