Listening to this recording without looking at the liner notes, I considered the music to be excellent modern mainstream jazz probably recorded during the past year. The playing is adventurous and full of variety, the interplay between piano and guitar is quite up to date, and the rhythm section pushes the soloists.
To my surprise, I discovered that this quartet session with pianist Hal Galper, guitarist John Scofield, bassist Wayne Dockery, and drummer Adam Nussbaum was recorded in 1979! It was released at the time by Enja (and domestically by Inner City) as Ivory Forest. It just goes to show listeners that the best jazz is timeless.
The one main difference between this session and many recorded recently (other than the fact that Dockery passed away in 2018) is that Scofield is not as distinctive as he would soon become. However his fluency, versatility and general brilliance was already very much in evidence 43 years ago.
The quartet starts off the program with a pair of Galper originals taken at relaxed tempos that are built off of subtle rhythms, utilize original chord changes and, despite the thoughtful pace, include some dazzling guitar and piano solos with Galper and Scofield playing off of each other during parts of "Continuity." "My Dog Spot" (which one imagines is a tribute to the famous used car dealer Cal Worthington) is a first cousin of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps."
The mood shifts as Scofield takes "Monk's Mood" as an unaccompanied guitar solo and the trio without the guitarist sounds boppish on "Yellow Days." The excellent set concludes with some ferocious playing on "Rapunzel's Luncheonette" as Galper shows that he can play quite freely while still swinging hard.
Hal Galper is still playing very well these days at the age of 84. Ivory Forest Redux is an overlooked classic that will probably sound just as fresh 43 years from now as it does now.