By Hrayr Attarian
Jack Mouse Intimate Adversary
Jack Mouse – Drums
Scott Robinson - Tenor saxophone
Art Davis - Trumpet, flugelhorn
John McLean – Guitar
Bob Bowman – Bass
On Intimate Adversary, his intriguing fourth release as a leader, drummer Jack Mouse has put together a quintet of long-time collaborators for an engaging interpretation of eight of his originals. The intricately crafted music balances inventively written passages with elegant and fluid spontaneity. The album, although firmly rooted in the mainstream, occasionally flirts with freer ideas thus acquiring a thrilling edge.
The boppish opener “Barney’s Fife” is up-tempo and effervescent with Mouse’s rumbling beats exuberantly driving the head. Trumpeter and flugelhornist Art Davis embellishes the melody with cool sophistication. Saxophonist Scott Robinson lets loose a simmering and serpentine extemporization that is both urbane and contemplative. Mouse’s thundering polyrhythms usher in the conclusion.
In contrast the improvised “Three Free” is a provocative and exhilarating three way “conversation” featuring Robinson, Mouse and the bassist Bob Bowman. Mouse’s angular percussive bursts match Bowman’s darkly reverberating strings. Robinson blows melancholic and poignant phrases with delightful dissonance.
A definite highlight of the recording is the title track and its mirror image “Adamant Inversary”. Bowman opens the former with expectant unaccompanied con-arco lines. The dramatic and captivating tune features guitarist John McLean’s warm and lyrical performance that shimmers within the nocturne-esque ambience. Robinson’s saxophone meanders gracefully while Davis blows mordant, burnished notes. The latter piece has a stronger Latin tinge with McLean taking a sensual and eloquent solo. Davis, switching to muted trumpet, coaxes out of it crisp and mellifluous tones while Robinson plays his tenor with agility and passion.
Mouse is a thoughtful and sensitive drummer and bandleader as well as a talented and accomplished composer. Intimate Adversary is a stimulating and imaginative work that is refreshingly creative and vibrant. It is definitely Mouse’s finest work to date.
Get more information on upcoming performances and purchase the new recording at www.jackmouse.com