Tom Baker Quartet - Look What I Found
Out but not too out, fretless guitarist leads his band through free-form improvs and slightly abstract jams, all the while maintaining, particularly in the rhythm section, a balance with the traditional. While it is Baker’s solos that capture the true spirit of that balance, other members are also able to flourish. Long-ish tracks like "Grace" allow clarinetist Jess Canterbury to stretch out, and the interplay between him and Baker on "Free Steps" gives space to the rhythm section to create a screen of percussion fills that together make for an effective soundscape.
Progressive Jazz normally means some limp sound that is too reluctant to go all the way in the escape from form; Baker and friends straddle an artistic line that allows them to cut loose and still show respect for melody. This is Progressive in the best sense; the quartet builds off the old and faces the new head on when the spirit moves them, which is often.
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