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Elements: Untold Stories

An exploratory performance captured live in Japan, Elements’ Untold Stories (Wavetone WT8635; 60:50) will appeal to those who like the excitement of a building improvisation. Bassist Mark Egan and drummer Danny Gottlieb lay down rock solid foundations and alarming time changes on pieces like the album’s title track, with joyful, flying rolls and squeals by saxophonist David Mann. Peppered with pretty, atmospheric set pieces like the cascading “1000 Words,” the album is built around two adventurous centerpieces. “Eastern Window” builds on Egan’s swinging bass solo into a mysterious feeling of flight. Lovely break-downs and dynamics illustrate the living idea exchange as Mann delivers soft-spoken riffs. “Heart Lake” is an equally diverse piece-beginning atmospheric, moving into spiraling Latin and fusion elements-it’s eerie at times, and heart-rending at others. Untold Stories captures the excitement and intrigue of an evolving live performance by a fine quartet-and will make listeners wish they had been there in person.

Originally Published