Transatlantic Quartet (Live in Basel)
Alto saxophonist-composer Pete Robbins forged a tight partnership while touring Europe with Irish electric bassist Simon Jermyn, Canadian drummer Kevin Brow and Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug. Their highly interactive chemistry is documented on this live outing, recorded at the Birdseye Jazzclub in Basel. Robbins’ appealing tone and relaxed, fluid lines color the harmonically shifting opener, “Eliotsong,” which also features a reverb-soaked guitar solo by Ploug that is rooted in the Kurt Rosenwinkel school. They strike an urgent accord on the surging “Inkhead,” which incorporates intricate unisons between Robbins’ sax and Ploug’s guitar. The altoist acquits himself with grace and lyricism on the melancholic ballad “The Quiet Space Left Behind,” which is guided by Ploug’s rich chord voicings. On “Hoi Polloi” the guitarist unleashes a fluid, warm-toned solo that bears the Metheny-Rosenwinkel stamp but takes on a life of its own as it picks up steam.