Personnel: Rich Perry (tenor saxophone); Steve Lampert (trumpet); Dennis Irwin (bass); Jeff Hirshfield (drums).
Rich Perry's eighth Steeplechase disc makes a point of featuring the little-known trumpeter/composer Steve Lampert, who penned all but two of the tunes for the session. Bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Jeff Hirshfield complete the lineup. The absence of a chordal instrument makes for a lot of harmonic openness, and that serves these sparse, freebop-oriented tunes just fine. Lampert, playing muted all the way through, proves to be a fluid and compelling soloist. As a composer, he gravitates toward unusual rhythmic feels, the best examples being the modified 12-bar blues "Gymel" and the agitated double-time "Penance." Perry seems to thrive on these relatively abstract themes; his interaction with the rhythm section is typically laid-back and imaginative. ~ David R. Adler