\"The spirit of Ornette Coleman is all over this latest record from saxophonist Michael Attias. Indeed, while Attias’s music a bit closer to that of later avant-garde saxophone masters, Anthony Braxton and Steve Coleman, his ribbony alto tone and gestural, playful style are steeped in Ornette’s influence. This is partly why Attias’s new record, despite leaning pretty far to the left, still feels connected to the canon of jazz and blues. The opener, an older Attias composition called “Dark Net," consists of a fragmented melody punctuated by aggressive bass and piano stabs, but there is a sense of swing to the proceedings—thanks especially to drummer Nasheet Waits—that keeps the piece’s dense series of accents feeling gestural and forward-moving. Waits approaches the tune like a twisted second line drummer, grooving loosely on the snare drum before letting loose on the whole kit toward the end of the piano solo.
It is a testament to the rapport of this band that the piece seamlessly slides between precise counterpoint and waves of free improvisation. While Attias has collaborated with all the players before, the album marks the debut for this particular lineup. Waits and John Hebert (bass) always play fantastically together, and they deftly navigate the line between scripted embellishment and total freedom, subtlety and bombast. Aruán Ortiz (piano), meanwhile, is a revelation. He drops chordal stabs all over the range of the piano, and in lighter moments generates lush ambient atmospheres. More often a team player than a soloist, he shines in both capacities, especially in moments like his brief but explosive solo turn on “Scribble Job Yin Yang." Even though Attias’s bright tone cuts through the mix, there is never a moment where the music feels anything less than collective. Perhaps the emotional centerpiece of the record is “Dream in a Mirror," the most explicit tribute to Ornette Coleman on the whole project. A reflection of Coleman’s “Clergyman’s Dream," the plaintive tune that was inspired by the death of the free-jazz giant, and its nine-minute arc reflects the hugeness of Coleman’s loss. \"