"The Ideal Bread" Downtown Music Gallery review by Bruce Lee Gallanter
Bread is a local quartet featuring Josh Sinton on baritone sax, Kirk Knuffle on trumpet, Reuben Radding on contrabass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. "Ideal Bread" is also a tribute to the late saxist and composer Steve Lacy, with all eight pieces penned by Mr. Lacy. Since Steve Lacy
only played the soprano sax for the length of his 50+ year career, it is unusual to hear these pieces played on the baritone sax, from the other end of the sax's range/spectrum. "Trickles" opens and is the title piece from an old Black Saint Lacy Qt disc with Roswell Rudd on trombone. This piece is a bit tricky and is played at a relaxed pace with the bari sax playing some soft blusters of notes while the bass and drums play skeletally around him, the bass taking a long, calm solo during the second half, building into a powerful quartet conclusion. "Esteem" is again a title track from a rare Lacy album recorded in 1975 with his quintet and recently reissued on Atavistic. It is a most haunting work, with soft, dark harmonies for the dreamy bari sax, cautious trumpet, bowed bass and spacious mallets on the drums. I dig the way that Mr. Sinton stretches out his notes carefully on his bari sax, often playing with a hushed elegance. Reuben Radding's superb bowed bass is a perfect partner for both Josh's austere bari and Kirk's
contemplative trumpet. "Capers" is yet another fine title piece from an out-of-print Lacy disc on Hat. The main theme has that Monkish oddball melody yet the quartet move into some strange free section in the middle with some ghosts floating in here and there. I am not sure where "Bud's Brother" is from, but it is a unique song with an odd structure. The sax and trumpet plays a series of quick, twisted lines together while the rhythm team plays tightly around them. When the bari sax finally gets a chance to erupt, the rhythm team spins faster and faster
underneath. "Quirks" is another album title with an appropriately quirky structure. The theme is fractured and memorable while the mid-section if fast and furiously charged. "Kitty Malone" is a stunning yet calm work that goes back and forth between different dynamic sections. "The Uh Uh Uh" is taken from the 'Esteem' album and was originally dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. Trumpeter Kirk Knuffle takes a great, high-flying solo here while the rhythm section constantly shifts gears underneath. Considering the Steve Lacy is more known as a unique stylist on his soprano sax than as a composer, this CD presents eight of his compositions, all quite different and all challenging. A brilliant idea and very well done.