Romus’, Rent Life’s Blood – “Truth Teller” – [Edgetone Records]
Fresh innovative jazz from local hepcat legend Romus and his team of Edgewalkers. Free not as in unrestrained, but untethered indeed. Restraint is the name of the game here with Rent’s soulful sax soothsaying playing with melody but never getting tied down, jumping playfully about at the slightest suggestion of repetition. There’s definitely a couple scorchers here, though, on the title track and Luggage Store Breakdown, but Rent never resorts to pure shrieking rage. The expression is emotional but eloquent, smooth yet cerebral. Orr’s versatility on drums is deftly demonstrated by the blazing solo opening the title track and then complemented by the subtle assortment of bells and chimes on Snow Ghost. The bassists trade between tracks but the conversation between the two of them on Infinitism is not to be missed. Even Thollem jumps in on Rhodes for some swelling spirit jazz on Universal Message. Add all that to the heavy swing on 7 and the closing folk song and you get all sorts of flavors provided.