Arthur Kell Quartet: Jester

Bassist-composer Arthur Kell fronts a crew of top-shelf improvisers and consummate team players-alto saxophonist Loren Stillman, guitarist Brad Shepik, drummer Mark Ferber-on this winning quartet outing. The riff-based opener, “Quarter Sawn,” recalls the infectious energy and wit of Ornette Coleman’s catchiest avant-groove-oriented writing for his electrified Prime Time, and the moody and mysterious “Ijinna” showcases Stillman’s extraordinarily fluid lines along with Shepik’s luminous, unhurried guitar solo.

The buoyant title track showcases Kell running intricate unisons with Stillman and Shepik over an easy Latin-flavored groove, while the more introspective “Song for the Journey” is carried by Stillman’s plaintive alto tones and Ferber’s gentle brushwork. “Anima Negra” begins as an extended dialogue between bass and alto and develops into a full quartet piece with Ferber supplying a loping “Poinciana” beat underneath. Kell further reveals his intelligent approach to writing on the tricky “Tiki Time Bomb” and the evocative ballad “Arts Et Métiers,” both featuring stellar playing by the vastly underrated Shepik and Stillman.

Originally Published