Michaël Attias : Spun Tree

Michaël Attias is a saxophonist and composer who has worked with Anthony Braxton, which perhaps accounts for the allusive quality and segmented, Euro-classical tinge on what are still clearly jazz songs. Spun Tree is the debut of his quintet by the same name, a group with strong personalities and big ears, making these players particularly well suited for the intra-ensemble duets and trios that keep the thematic wheel slowly turning on these tunes. Most obviously and frequently this involves the frontline horns of Attias and the superb, brawny-toned trumpeter Ralph Alessi; they swell and recede together like huge waves that never crest on “No’s No” and create circular currents on “Bad Lucid.” But there are also sudden interludes, like when Matt Mitchell starts pounding piano chords and drummer Tom Rainey jumps in to ride herd during a come-and-go snippet of jungle intensity on “Calendar Song.” Bassist Sean Conly, Attias’ duet partner on the recent Think Shadow (OutNow), rounds out the quintet. When Attias is nimbly pulling them together, as on the sprightly “Ghost Practice,” Spun Tree leaves you smiling.