Angelica Sanchez Quintet: Wires & Moss (CF 259)
Perceptive composer and cunning improviser, educator/keyboardist Angelica Sanchez has risen to the A-list of modern stylists and innovators. As history dictates, she largely summons the crème-de-la-crème of like-minded artists for her solo endeavors. Indeed, Sanchez’s burgeoning discography for Clean-Feed records bears witness to her resourceful persona. On Wires & Moss, she traverses a route initiated upon evocative moods and jarring tone poems.
“Soaring Piasa” is an 11-minute opus designed with guitarist Marc Ducret’s angular and creaky extended notes that help establish an unwieldy and slightly ominous introduction. As saxophonist Tony Malaby fills in the gaps along with Sanchez’s nimble piano voicings. Hence, an unnerving calm underscores the storyline. But they subsequently raise the pitch, due to the leader’s fractured jazz phrasings and subtle reverse-engineering processes, instilling a notion that many unanswered questions prevail.
It’s an open-ended piece that morphs into a structured theme, centered on a simple and congenial melody line, where Malaby elevates the pitch via his plaintive cries during the finale. Sanchez and associates inject quite a few teasers into this multifaceted work. The ensemble decrees a translucent median, toggling between artistic risk-taking and modern mainstream while tossing several riotous detours into the grand schema.