Steve Slagle Quartet: Alto Blue

With an occasional, well-intoned nod in the direction of Ornette Coleman’s early pianoless combos, altoist/flutist Steve Slagle here engages the talents of young-lionesque trumpeter-fluegelhornist Ryan Kisor, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Gene Jackson for an exploration of tunes embodying the feeling, if not always the precise structure and harmonic basis, of the standard blues. Slagle wrote four of the eight compositions, the chordally venturesome, 12-bar “Blues Not To Lose,” the more harmonically conventional “Hail-Bop,” the rhythmically intrepid “Jaco Time” and the 24-bar, triple-metered “Peacefully,” while the standard “Detour Ahead,” guitarist Dave Stryker’s “Full Moon,” a clincher in the connection with Ornette, Mingus’ “Jump Monk,” a swinging minor theme, and Lee Morgan’s “The Midget,” a little known funk/groove line in 12/8, complete this provocative package. Overall, the sound of the quartet is, like Schlitz Light, “crisp, clean and refreshing.”