From Earshot Jazz November 2005,BY PETER MONAGHAN
Absurd World Country, the new CD by the drum marauder Gregg Keplinger and unassuming sax monster Michael Monhart, is a vibrant megalith of pure sound art. In the realms of vanguard jazz-related accomplishment,it succeeds the free-jazz invaders Stackpole as the most intense experience you’re likely to undergo in a Seattle music venue. On the disc, Monhart and Keplinger are joined by many Seattle out-jazz and rock icons, from guitarist Stone Gossard to bass outlander Geoff Harper to young comers Adam Diller on saxophone and Tom Swafford on violin to Emily Bishton who contributes gorgeous,ingenue sacred vocals. Not for years has a Seattle recording so indisputably signaled that much is well on the local scene, and that much more will emerge in the near future. Monhart, an ethnomusicologist by day, brings to bear on his saxophone playing the lessons of his intellectual craft, the experience of wide listening in intensely spiritual musics from the world of jazz and from the world at large, and his long collaborations with musicians of eastern Buddhist practices.
Keplinger has for decades been a true rock of exploration of all that is vital in jazz drumming. A mentor for a whole generation of high-profi le Seattle rock drummers, he has been unflagging in his devotion to drum art.