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John Lindberg Ensemble with Wadada Leo Smith, Larry Ochs, Andrew Cyrille: A Tree Frog Tonality

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Bassist John Lindberg takes the honors among this wave of releases. Lindberg opens A Tree Frog Tonality by introducing his ensemble through a set of duets, first with Larry Ochs on sopranino sax; then with Andrew Cyrille on drums and percussion; and finally with Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet. Each sketches out his role for the pieces to come, and proceeds to expand upon it as the recital unfolds. Smith is in top form, adding and stripping away nuance with every breath, including one remarkable passage of articulated breathing; his is the most memorable voice here. Cyrille is as ever a master of microtime, playing in and around the pulse, always opening doors for his bandmates. Ochs plays fine tenor as well, but it is his sopranino work that adds most to the character of the group. Lindberg’s bass playing is rock solid; he even finds time to walk in the midst of all this creative energy.