inventive electric/acoustic guitar trio
Active on the NY jazz gig scene and a student of jazz guitar veteran Mick Goodrick's, Tim Miller's (b. 1973/4?) 3rd self-produced release - with some help from A. Holdsworth's keyboardist Steve Hunt during the process of recording, mixing and mastering - is a concentrated, harmonically cohesive and motif-wise cross-referenced effort. Miller's tone (from crystalline to violiny) is truly unique and instantly recognizable, not the least because one would assume he's alternating between acoustic and electric guitars, when in fact his ergonomic, headless instrument (the odd shape of which is intimated on the CD cover) alone is capable of achieving that effect.
Two main stylistic/thematic threads run through the album: a bop-fusion virtuosity reserved mainly for solo delineation and an elegiac bent reminiscent of the mood P. Metheny invoked on "One Quiet Night" (2003, Warner). This duality is first introduced in the guitar interlude of the floating #2 'by the sea', then the lyrical side is reinforced on the hauntingly beautiful solo reverie #5 'night sky', and culminates in the solemn americana #8 'grey to blue'.
The listener can also witness blistering, far advanced improvisations (i.e., cuts to the chase, but not from square one), not infrequently at breakneck speed utilizing legato technique, like the whirl of 32nd notes on the opener #1 'electric', the theme of which is being revisited and further expanded on during the aptly titled #11 'recal'’; the Holdsworthian #6 'arc' featuring an overdubbed guitar melody-solo and whose chord progression resurfaces on the closer #12 'open'.
The kinetic and resourceful contribution of the Japanese TaKe Toriyama on drums is outstanding throughout the album - sadly enough, he is no longer with us (1969-2007: R.I.P.) Together with Dr. Joshua Davis (double bass), who is no stranger to different environments ranging from trio, combo through large ensamble to symphonic orchestra, they create a proactive rhythm section, as demonstrated - for example - during their exchange on the intro to #3 'elements' and the rather abstract, freeish #10 'drop of ink', in addition to the upbeat, playful #9 'trace'. The set clocks in at intense 43.21 minutes. Emphatically recommended.