It’s Chicago’s Pink Monkey, using the Sonny Rollins trio setup from (in my opinion) his best album, Night at the Village Vanguard: bass, drums, sax.
Stripped and simple. Mistakes show through quickly, as does genuine musical ability.
First track, “Grouch (Good Lion),” starts with a slightly-stuffy acoustic bass run and quickly adds a Pharoah Sanders/ Miles Davis’ On the Corner-sounding sax screech….
“A Little Bit Off,” sounds much like Jackie MacLean, the intonation threatening to come undone, yet never doing so, adding a nice tension to the proceedings, like Lester Young without otherwise sounding like him….
Next, “10 Below”– at 1:03, there’s a great little downwards sax run, not unlike Hank Mobley’s great little run on “Smokin.'”
“Stars” starts with a solo alto sax, not unlike Eric Dolphy’s solo version of “Tenderly” (On Far Cry)… “Cool Beans” has a nice hook/chorus, one maudlin-yet-hopeful, not unlike something Terence Blanchard might score….
“It Was Yours” opens with a tragic three-note riff/head, then adds more sax over it to complement the mood (and does it well), reminds me a bit of Lucky Thompson’s “Minuet in Jazz”… this is probably the most interesting track so far; evocative, a bit startling (compared to what’s come before this), and while there’s not bass or drums, you don’t miss them until the end, and then only a bit (caveat: being a sax player myself, I tend to endorse the, uh… masturbatory aspects… regarding solo sax works)….
Closer “Smokin'” –not to be confused with the above-mentioned Hank Mobley tune– opens with saxed whale calls and eases back into a chaos that Ink seems to love.
Unlike most modern jazz, I wouldn’t necessarily known this wasn’t recorded at the 5-Spot or the Half Note in the late 60s.
Because I love oversimplification: overall, Ink is Jackie Maclean covering Miles Davis’ On the Corner after touring with the Ramones (who’ve brought along John Zorn) for the last year.
It’s good stuff, and makes me hopeful for the future of jazz. Something I almost never say. Consider indulging.
Pink Monkey bandcamp ($5 for the whole thing!)