Considerably absorbing is the second album by a trio of guitarist Stowell, bassist Johnson, and drummer Bishop. They've been gigging as a unit for over nine years, and their rapport has reached an enviable tightness. Dynamically astute and rhythmically sensitive, this is very satisfying music, the kind of interactive Jazz that doesn't hit you over the head as much as insinuate itself into your consciousness.
The majority of the tunes are by bassist Johnson with a pair by Stowell plus two telling covers. The first is John Taylor's "Ambleside," a very pretty song first played by Taylor's piano trio for a 1993 ECM date, while the second dates back to the early Seventies. Hermeto Pascoal's "Little Church" first appeared on Miles Davis' Live/Evil date and has been occasionally revived since. With Stowell performing on electric and acoustic guitars and Johnson switching off between standup and electric basses, there's plenty of variety in their presentation even without a lot of electronic effects. The lengthy disc is smartly programmed. For instance, Johnson's vaguely Brazilian "Leviathan" has them relaxing at length, a break that sets up the upbeat "Art of Falling," another Johnson original. This one's got a tricky convoluted theme that Stowell whips into shape while Johnson walks and Bishop rumbles and clatters. Next is Stowell's mildly funky "Fun With Fruit," which sets up a nice three-way conversation, exactly the way that the guitarist describes the feeling he gets when this trio convenes. Pick your favorite: the unabashed swing of "Virtual 52nd Street," the tumbling melodies of "Little Church," or the spidery creep of "Clues," perhaps. For this session, they managed to get ten tunes done in one day, and not a clunker among them. Definitely recommended.