Jim Snidero <i>Interface</i>

As the composer of all the tunes on Interface, alto saxophonist Jim Snidero sees the album as a transition away from bebop and hard bop, he tells liner-note writer Ted Panken. There are certain “inside” ideas and certain “outside” ideas beyond straight-ahead, he says. Thus, we hear elements of jazz-rock, Far Eastern modality, North African droning, Brazilian samba and soulful lamentation coming into play along with structural originality. Also, Paul Bollenback plays acoustic guitar on half of the tracks (electric on the others) and imparts a folk-like quality at times. Bassist Paul Gill and drummer McClenty Hunter complete the group with big ears and an ensemble spirit.

Snidero calls this music “warm jazz,” as distinguished from what he perceives as coldness in some of today’s jazz. His playing lives up to his description, and the “beyond” elements of these tunes flow naturally and are not jarring. Bollenback adapts flawlessly to his different support and solo roles; for example, exhibiting (on electric guitar) a rockish tone and effects on the bluesy “Fall Out” and reverting (on acoustic) to lyricism and gentleness throughout “Silhouette” and “One by One.” “Viper,” with its reedy, crying alto swirls and percussive one-chord vamp, infects the whole band and builds to a heated climax. “After the Pain,” a ballad with a different kind of cry, also yields plenty of emotional unity.

Snidero, a product of the University of North Texas, early career tours with Brother Jack McDuff and, later, high-profile New York gigs, has charted steady growth throughout his quarter-century career. The transition represented by Interface is a rewarding direction.