This singular ensemble from San Francisco is led by bassist Steve Horowitz and features the writing of tenor saxophonist Dan Plonsey. The myriad influences heard on this wildly eclectic outing range from tango to Zappa to postbop and free jazz, with touches of klezmer and minimalism thrown into the mix. Those elements come together most effectively on “Mirror Earth” and the urgent title track, the latter of which has Horowitz walking on electric bass and Plonsey taking it all the way out during his unaccompanied tenor solo. “Shattered Silence” features some outstanding piano work from Scott Looney, who evokes Cecil Taylor on the short “Brains for Breakfast.” There’s also a clever mash-up of John Coltrane’s “India” with Eric Dolphy’s “Red Planet” (or, as many critics and historians would argue, Trane’s “Miles Mode”). Quirky and spirited, New Monsters grows on you.Originally Published
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