The Phil Mosberg Quartet: Forest Through the Trees
The Phil Mosberg Quartet consists of some find young musicians who are bringing some freshness to the Chicago jazz landscape. On "Forest Through the Trees", the band goes through a well-balanced program of original compositions.
As a leader, guitarist Phil Mosberg does a great job at either cooling things down or bringing some heat—he can fire lines at a dazzling speed—whenever it is necessary. Moreover, he does not try to eclipse other band members. Reedist Jon Irabagon is a very promising saxophonist capable of negotiating the most twisted turns and shifts ("Bits & Pieces"). His playing will keep your interest level high. His clarinet playing featured on "Spit Valve" is more subdued and fits this more evocative composition. Both Phil Mosberg and Jon Irabagon get great support from their rhythm section, especially drummer Vance Okraszewski who keeps pushing the soloists.
This band should appeal to listeners who like modern jazz with a deep respect for a certain tradition—at times, this recording reminds me of some mid-60s Blue Note sessions. Chicago counts some fine guitar players who don't get to record that often. One more reason to pick this one up.—Alain Drouot
Available on Solitaire Records in specialty stores.