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George Colligan: Unresolved

Unresolved features Colligan in a quintet setting with the darting saxophones of Mark Turner and Jon Gordon, and the crisp drumming of Howard Curtis; here, the bass chair is filled by the capable Drew Gress. Leaning into 10 bracing Colligan originals, the band again proves its avant, neomainstream mettle. For the latter, the no-nonsense, straightahead “Train to St. Gallen” streaks down 4/4 rails with dispatch. As to the former, the aptly titled “Nebulosity” spins like a manic top let loose by the muses who inspired Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor; still, even without predetermined chord changes, the quintet is so perfectly in sync that architectural tracings start to appear over Curtis’ and Gress’ churning pulse.

Turner and Gordon are wonders whose jabbing, soaring lines seem to emanate from the same spirited source. In “Danger Zone,” against Colligan’s mysterious Hammond B-3 undertow, the two saxmen fly separate missions before uniting in a heroic dogfight. Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel guests effectively on “Modeidi’s Modalities,” a disguised reworking of “Donna Lee” in which Colligan drums with Elvinish brio. On several tracks, Colligan overdubs trumpet. Here, he goes too far. His trumpeting is not an asset. Still, it’s a minimal distraction.

Originally Published