Matt Steckler, driving force behind the ensemble Dead Cat Bounce, joins three other reed soloists and an actively charged rhythm section in a program of Steckler compositions. Chance Episodes (Cuneiform Rune 323) is the concretion of the session, so to speak, and is some kind of concretion at that!
It's the dynamic of a tightly interactive sax quartet with bass and drums, playing some charts that have a modern ring to them (sometimes a la Elvin Jones' classic recordings with multi-saxophones and rhythm). The interplay, written or otherwise, between the horns is beautiful to hear and there are very good soloist in there too. The music combines the heft of a little big band with the flexibility and spontaneity of a small group.
Stickler is the man of the hour, though. He knows what to write for such a group. It brings out the best in the soloists and stands in its own right as extraordinarily valid contemporary jazz composition.
Grab this one and you'll grab a platter of irresistible goodies. This one stands up and bites you on the ear. One of the surprises of the waning days of 2011!