Former Ornette Coleman sideman Ken Wessel steps out here with his own freewheeling trio with drummer Lou Grassi and bassist Ken Filiano. Their interpretation of two standards, “I Remember You” and “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,” is shrouded by abstraction. In both cases, Wessel doesn’t reference the familiar themes until the group is well into an improvised fray (and dig his insane whammy-bar work on the intro to their raucous rendition of “Softly”). And in each case, drummer Grassi makes the smooth transition from rolling free pulse to insistently swinging 4/4 groove. Wessel blows confidently over the changes to “I Remember You,” showcasing legato chops and fresh note choices, while revealing his more avant free-bop instincts on his own vibrantly swinging title track.
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