Drummer Jack Mouse has been around playing with a top notch list of jazz artists from James Moody and Stan Kenton to Randy Brecker and Kenny Burrell. With Range of Motion, he steps out to lead a set of musicians he's collaborated with over the years in a swinging examination of 10 of his original compositions. The debut recording is contemporary jazz played with cerebral passion.
The quintet features Scott Robinson on reeds and Art Davis on trumpet and flugelhorn. They work together seamlessly as they play off each other, as they do in a tune like "Winterset," which Mouse explains was written while gazing from a window during a Chicago storm. "Loose Weave" which closes the album is a free form duet between Mouse and Robinson's haunting sax. "Slow Helen," which begins with a Mouse solo, has an almost old fashioned swing sound and has some fine moments from Davis.
Mouse seems to like a little word play in his titles. "Hip Check" is a hip reference he says, inspired by Boston Bruins hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr. He puns on the name of drum great Shelly Manne in "Manne=rism," a tribute to what he calls his unorthodox take on the blues. The rhyming "Raucous Caucus" and the neologistic "The Breezeling" speak for themselves. Fortunately the music is as interesting and entertaining as the titles.