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Chilean trumpeter Benjamín Vergara (trumpet) traveled to Chicago a few years ago and met Chicago-based musicians Keefe Jackson (reeds), Jim Baker (piano/synthesizer), and Phil Sudderberg (drums). It seems the connection was instant, and the music that resulted excellent.
One of the characteristics that makes this album special, and one of the reasons why it is immediately relatable, is the obvious chemistry between Vergara and Baker. The first track (“The Halloween Plant”) begins with just the two of them. They have an unusual knack for combining trumpet and saxophone, playing simultaneously and egging
each other on, yet maintaining an expansive concept of space and never overpowering the other.
As Baker and Sudderberg join, it is apparent that this band really understands texture. Though the album contains great melodic content, small shifts in texture drive the organic evolution of each improvisation. Take the second track, “This moves to that” for example. It begins with a dense and jagged set of rhythmic gestures. Over time, the band unexpectedly coalesces around a tonal center and meter, and the piece becomes a sort of abstract blues. It is this sort of shift that makes me appreciate that the album is completely improvised. Each piece is formally concrete, as though intricately planned but comprehensible as such only through the privilege of hindsight. - Alexander Dubovoy