Mick Rossi - One Block From Planet Earth (OmniTone)
The long-awaited follow-up to They Have a Word for... More Everything keeps the same instrumentation while introducing new collaborators. Trumpeter Dave Douglas is replaced by Russ Johnson, a musician who shares his predecessor's aesthetic, and bassist Kermit Driscoll is substituted for the mighty Mark Dresser, who delivers an earth-shattering introduction on "Biohazard." The music can be best described by stating the philosophy of Mick Rossi's new label -- "adventurous and listenable" -- because it challenges listeners while providing what they inherently need: a story. Musicians can be oblivious of that fact, but the pianist is fully aware of it. "I Gotta Go to Bed" is edgy and full of suspense, a real thriller despite the title. If this session strongly attests to the quality of Rossi's inspiration and multifaceted writing, it also serves as a gauge of his development and progress as a bandleader. "Stasis Blues" is a wonderful display of Rossi's ability to direct the proceedings and to signal tempo shifts, which give the music a powerful momentum. Remarkably focused and featuring a first-class crew that also includes Andy Laster on reeds and Charles Descarfino on drums, this is another strong statement by a criminally under-recognized pianist and composer.
- Alain Drouot, All Music Guide