That master of avant-garde jazz saxophone, Rent Romus himself, is back once again, this time resurrecting the Jazz On the Line Quartet (a band he formed back in 1986) for their interpretation of Filmtrax-ROBOT (Rats and Other Memos), 'a story of corporate corruption and justice in the not so distant future' by screenwriter Steen Marshall. Seeing as this is sort of a soundtrack, and being all-instrumental, the listener is not really going to have any idea of what the storyline is all about. Really, it matters not here, but Romus and the band, comprised of Scott Looney on keyboards, Ray Schaeffer on bass, Phillip Everett on drums, and guest Andre Custodio on electronics/congas, have put together some seriously dangerous and compelling free jazz here. At times, this is dark, dense, and often times savagely improvised stuff, tracks like "Night Nova" and "Night Flyer" containing some frenzied sax explorations from Romus, as well as nimble keyboard runs courtesy of Looney. The band even throws in some dark bebop on "Candlelight" and "Netkill", while the closer "Reaven's Gate" is smoky, sultry jazz, led by the snaking sax of Romus and Looney's majestic piano melodies. To show that the boys have some soul as well, there's the almost commercial sounds of "Northwood", interrupted from its funky vibe only briefly by some scorching sax bursts from Mr. Romus.
Give these guys some credit here, as they've managed to combined free-jazz, avant-garde, and even some bebop and soul into a very entertaining listen. Let's hope we don't have to wait long for the band to give us something more along these same lines.
1) Strap (intro)
2) Northwood (college campus)
3) Night Nova (dark nights)
4) Candlelight (Margaret's theme)
5) Netkill (Robot theme)
6) Night Flyer (chase/flight theme)
7) Reaven's Gate (hospital/credits)