The murderer’s row of fusioneers that bassist/composer Scott Petito assembled for Rainbow Gravity is both exciting and foreboding. It implies great playing and—not unrelatedly—big, self-indulgent spotlights for the heavyweights. But while the chops are indeed fearsome, the album turns out surprisingly tight, thanks in no small part to Petito’s writing.
One remarkable example: Despite the presence of Jack DeJohnette, Peter Erskine, Omar Hakim, and Simon Phillips, Rainbow Gravity contains precisely one drum solo. It is Erskine’s, about two thirds of the way through “The Sanguine Penguin,” and it is not an unrestrained crash-fest but a scrupulous groover, as carefully composed as the complex but impeccably phrased tune around it. Even “Dark Pools” and “Symbol Bells,” duets between Petito and DeJohnette, avoid pyrotechnics for the sake of icy ambient textures.