Hamid Drake – drums
Mars Williams – sax
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Dan Phillips – guitar
Krzysztof Pabian – double bass
Released: March 2017 CD/Digital
All seven songs, Phillips originals, are restless explorations. Take the title track, which opens with bowed bass, cymbal taps and delicate electric guitar before the drowsy horns enter in unison. Riffs glance off each other in a meandering fashion before Phillips introduces a vamp, Drake answers in the pocket, Bishop goes brawny to engage the drummer for a while, and Phillips’ weepy guitar signals another change—and we’re only halfway through the 11-minute tune. The titles “Bluster Buster” and “Splatter Pattern” infer that someone—usually Williams—is going to be shredding, but that’s just one of many events in each song. “Bipolar Vortex” leads with chromatic drones that evolve into feisty squabbles, then parade-march funk, back to squabbles, into full-blown sax-guitar spasms and back to drones. And “Uptown Swagger” could be the work of a classic fusion-rock trio until the horns enter and spin it into campy funk. This is music that animates your solar plexus, the soles of your feet and, not least, your soul.
Excerpt from Britt Robson’s review of “Decaying Orbit” for Jazz Times