Jochen Rueckert : Somewhere Meeting Nobody

From the aggressively swinging opener, “The Itch,” you can sense the intense simpatico and conviction among the four New Yorkers who populate Somewhere Meeting Nobody. With drummer-composer Jochen Rueckert and bassist Matt Penman holding it down, the inspired pairing of tenor saxophonist Mark Turner and guitarist Brad Shepik steps to the fore, each player taking turns wailing with impunity through the many changes. Clearly inspired by Kurt Rosenwinkel’s ’90s quartet (which featured Turner on sax), Rueckert’s first as a leader for Pirouet after many sideman appearances for the label ranks as one of 2011’s best releases yet.

Rueckert and Penman, rhythm-section mates in several situations over the past 15 years, explore their indelible hookup on the sublime ballad “Buttons,” the intricate drums-bass duet “Delete Forever,” and a provocative 9/8 cover of Herbie Hancock’s “The Sorcerer” performed as an open-ended bass-drums-sax trio. The kinetic “Dan Smith Will Teach You Guitar” lets Turner loose for a dramatic, flowing excursion through all registers of his horn, underscored by Rueckert’s insistent rolling pulse. The foursome also interprets the Depeche Mode synth-pop number “To Have and to Hold” as a darkly moving hymn.