I'm kinda glad Jack Mouse named this CD as he did, as I find more than a little Paul Motian in his playing. Motian's Conception Vessel was one of a handful of LPs that early turned me on to the inimitable ECM label, and what now attracts me to Paul's method is what I found in Jack's: a strong tendency to lay an entire environment beneath the rest of the band. Motian's a little artier while Mouse is swingin'er, but the two accomplish the same end (and, in a much different way, that trait also accounts for enamorment with my all-time favorite percussionist: Jon Christensen). However, I'll warn/shout-out to the reader that Scott Robinson is present in the quintet, which should be plenty of notice that things get a bit outside within Mouse's favored realm (progressive swing-bop), so much so, yet so refinedly executed, that you'll find yourself immediately jumpin' the nines but also laying back in elder arbors and quays.
This is because Mouse boasts a wide net of experience, having played for Kenton, Burrell, Norvo, Bartz, Winding, Herb Ellis, and many others. He was even, with Bunky Green, among the first to introduce jazz education to the Montreux Jazz Fest. With street cred like that, no one asks for your ID at the door, Jerome, and you're able to recruit such talent as Jack has enlisted. Robinson (sax, flute) and Art Davis (trumpet, flugelhorn) shine in tandem and as soloists, and guitarist John McLean, though not utilized quite as much as I'd prefer, combines Frisell with Tropea with glittery fusion funk. The bassists, however, are almost invisible, dwelling in shadows. Normally, I'd question that but what occurs in this disc is a tactic in which they fill the periphery and interstices of what Mouse lays down, so I'm actually intrigued.
Range of Motion is neither fish nor fowl, beast nor mineral. It embraces trad, modern, fusion, bop, swing, and other jazz forms in a propulsively smooth format that frequently underlines the horns but secrets away a number of surprises slipping out from under the lamppost, most of them from Robinson, whom, we've seen before, is pretty much uncontainable but always intelligently so, the kind of hipster slick agent who walks up grinning, saying "You think that was clever? Watch this!" to your delighted dreaming face.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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