“While there is much to enjoy here, particularly the tracks Slow Tuesday and Nightfall with their sketchy, atmospheric ECM feeling and the two standards, the compositions and interplay of others did not touch me personally —on first quick listening. Lead jazz guitar, with very few exceptions, is not among my favorites; however, Jim Robitaille makes a statement with his dark electric sound and unpredictable phrasing. Classical trained, he does not use a pick and can bring forth chords besides flowing notes. His partner in this album is veteran saxophonist Dave Liebman, a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master, who provides the punch and soaring lyricism with tenor and soprano instruments. The rhythm section of Tony Marino, bass, and Alex Ritz, drums, never get in the way but ground the quartet whether upbeat or quiet. Thus, with further listening, the group becomes cohesive and enticing. The post bop energetic and hot Point of Origin leaves me cold, but the driving drums and ambling bass solos coupled with saxophone sonics are admirable. The mentioned Nightfall begins with a duet of bass and guitar and follows with guitar and saxophone melodic doubling. Next, in stark contrast, is another blazing abstract bop piece, Touch and Go. Opaque is a ballad, mellowed by nylon strings on the guitar, that is rendered slow with expansive solos. One of the two standards, What is This Thing Called Love, demonstrates how the group can handle engrained tunes; upbeat and bouncy, Liebman’s improvisations grab and mesmerize but then Robitaille breaks the spell along with Marino’s bass solo. Spatial commences with chordal dabs, the saxophone bounding among the clouds soon accompanied by guitar; it is an oddly satisfying composition. Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise is not soft; Ritz provides a New Orleans groove and Marino is funky. Moreover, the sunrise is desert hot with the horizon distorted by heat waves. This is, in short, a highly sophisticated album of varied tempo and approaches to mainly original compositions. The saxophone–guitar combination, as with Paul Desmond and Jim Hall and more recently Ted Nash and Steve Cardenas, works well. 71 generous minutes.”

Dr. Debra Jan Bibel
4/5 Stars – “Sophisticated & Diverse”

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