Here & Here & Here – “Here & Here & Here” – [Pfmentum]
This quintet dazzles with their interplay of sounds in an ever changing soundscape that is as much about pause and space as it is about filling up with sound. Michael Vlatkovich on trombone and percussion, Anna Homler on vocals and percussion, Jeff Kaiser on trumpet and flugelhorn, Scott Walton on acoustic bass and Rich West on drums and percussion create fifteen refreshing songs of beauty and sophistication. The jazz improvisation stylings are present: the play back and forth between the horns and drums and the bass and percussion give it a familiar but not stale sound. Yet things are changing here: a duck call, squeaking toys, horns made to sound like toys, voices sounding like horns. These percussive and tonal blasts are not what one expects from a jazz improvisation album. And yet these are the things that really make you sit up and listen more. Homler’s invented language sings tales unclear yet understood. Extended horn notes are interrupted by maybe beads being pulled, or a drum trill, or a breath. And then there are pauses, space, silence and then one instrument takes over. These musicians are not afraid to let their colleagues take the spotlight for a moment or three, and that is a sign of an accomplished musician: to be able to sit for a moment while others play. An experienced listener will do the same. Enjoy.