Chicago has a lot of new talents who are working hard to get heard. This is the first release of a trio led by a young and versatile drummer, Eric Roth. "Program 16" is in fact one long composition alternating short written sections and longer improvisational segments built upon them. The music is always challenging and can be quite cerebral and abstract, but never dry. In fact, "Program 16" contains some heated moments ("Move a Little", the opening track) and some thoughtful passages.
Bassist Jason Roebke is a very sensitive musician and his solos are often reflective and warm. Eric Roth constantly keeps things moving, always trying to develop new patterns. Best known for replacing Mars Williams in the Vandermark 5, saxophonist Dave Rempis shows that he is also very comfortable with this band. All three musicians listen carefully to each other, which results in compelling dialogues ("Phenoya").
This cd is for adventurous listeners, but others should not be discouraged as repeated listens are definitely rewarding.—Alain Drouot
Available on RosCo Records in specialty stores.