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Stone Quartet - Live at Vision Festival

Glenn Astarita, eJazzNews

Similar to the touring be-bop all-stars of yesteryear, the post-modern sensibilities of today’s improvising musicians often derail semblances of the tried and true. This drummer-less quartet featuring prominent improvisers, generate progressive jazz-based undertones and semi-controlled interactions, largely entrenched within avant-garde type persuasions. Here, the band is captured at a live venue during New York City’s 2010 Vision Festival.

With the 32-minute opener “Vision One,” violaist Mat Maneri and double bassist Joelle Leandre engage in a series of growling exchanges via coarse staccato lines and set a fluid lower register platform for the manifold proceedings that follow. Instant compositional fortitude with doses of free-form minimalism coalesces for a free-range endeavor, spawning a holistic perspective via edgy outbursts, contrapuntal dialogues, and the traditional assortment of contrasts and transitory dialogues.

The quartet’s spiraling impetus offers a concentrated viewpoint. They rough it up on occasion, but thankfully, don’t operate at a warp-speed pace. Trumpeter Roy Campbell handles the upper registers via his commanding tonalities amid pianist Marilyn Crispell’s quivering notes and clustering block chords. In a loose way, the musicians lay out a broad musical horizon via undulating flows and swirling exchanges. At times mesmeric, they also integrate false endings and pauses.

Think of a fractured or uneven loop tempered by bassist Joelle Leandre’s wordless chants over-the-top, providing notions of rolling waves tempering combustible foundations. Yet on “Vision Two,” they gravitate towards a focal point, culminating into a ravaging climax. Here, piercing impressionism and synchronous streams of thought complement the respective musicians’ superior technical faculties. Hence, the buoyant and rather excitable live aura transfers exceedingly well on to disc.