British musician Tim Garland used to run a folk-jazz band called Lammas, which showed that for all his post-bop sax technical strengths, music outside the jazz loop have always called to him. That's obvious here on the delicious bass clarinet tone poem Tunji, with its distant, hooting cries over a landscape empty but for the sporadic whipcrack of Gary Novak's drums, the soprano-sax rhapsody (quite reminiscent of John Surman's handling of the instrument) To a Discarded Doll or the dreamy First Rain, which oddly brings the Fleetwood Mac hit Albatross to mind.
But there's plenty more urgent music on this quartet set, like the thrashy soprano-sax sprint Piece in our Time, which develops a growing rock feel and features plenty of gritty electric guitar from the excellent Paul Bollenbeck, or the Breckerish tempo-switching Inner Space. Gary Novak's drumming raises the excitement all over the album, and bassist John Patitucci applies his usual selflessly supportive virtuosity. Garland's themes can meander occasionally, even the fast ones, but the moods are very varied here, and the playing is right on the money.