One Block From Planet Earth
Mick Rossi (OmniTone)
by Javier Antonio Quiñones Ortiz
Mick Rossi's music brings to mind a couple of things. On one hand, it reminds one of Richard Feynman's life and work. Feynman, as is the quintet in One Block From Planet Earth, was multi-faceted, humorous, life relishing, unpretentiously profound and a superb communicator of abstract concepts. On the other, the primeval concept of "talking" through percussion, albeit here in a drawn-out alternative musical context.
This record has a full-bodied avant story telling character and personality that successfully encompasses various vistas at once. It doesn't feel, however, so much cinematic as it resembles a well designed and written graphic novel. As one moves from the seemingly unbounded cells within cells of each cut - with their own respective timbres, textures, sonorities, and occasional hints of ethnic aromas imbued with jazzified classicism - it's not as if every change and transition is insinuated or even expected, but it all works quite fine. Even better, there isn't any of the brooding moods or insincerity laden jaded-isms so common among so-called creative musicians. A muted trumpet and clarinet chamber-like duo with Russ Johnson - whose playing is a particular standout - and reedman Andy Laster begin "Whatever." The leader then joins in allowing the drummer to pulse away on cymbals as bass and piano engage in rather surreptitious playing, with an eventual loose frontal exchange of a bass, drum and muted trumpet before Rossi and Laster take center stage. One hears a quintet morphing from duo, to quintet, to trio, to duo, and back to quintet. The session's theme is non-linearity. There's a somewhat theatrical head to "Henry and Ribsy." It features a percussively developmental nature, which then allows quite a baritone solo as drummer Charles Descarfino and bassist Mark Dresser engage in a fascinating type of exchange, where time and pulse aren"t dictatorial. Their backdrop to a remarkably meaty piano solo continues through the earthy blarring trumpet one as the head is reincarnated through the coda.
For more information, visit www.omnitone.com. Rossi is at
Lincoln Center performing with Philip Glass June 2nd-4th.