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Oregon based tenor saxophonist Rich Halley has been producing superior free-jazz music for many years and his group, the Rich Halley 4, shows the weight of that experience on their brand new release Crossing The Passes on Pine Eagle Records.

The Halley 4 is comprised of trombonist Michael Vlatkovich, bassist Clyde Reed, and drummer Carson Halley. Together they breathe as a unit, swinging hard through free-bop fanfares like the Ornette-ish "The Only Constant," which opens the album with a rollicking start/stop theme that rips into a viscous motion of Reed's walking bass. After a wild tenor solo, Reed and Halley adopt a different, almost primal agenda to accompany Vlatkovich, whose multiphonic-laced spot heads straight into mayhem before Halley's drums emerge -- loose-limbed and funky.

"Traversing the Maze," lurches along with a staggered gait while Halley unleashes a statement reminiscent of both Dewey Redman and Albert Ayler --laden with wild extremes into the upper register. Vlatkovich takes over, a cappella, reaching into the gutbucket with bluesy commentary that becomes more pointed when the rhythm sections joins in. Reed and Halley continue in a drum/bass dialog after the 'bone solo, reminding me a little of the dynamic shared by Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall in the epic trio Air.

There is a composer aesthetic going on -- even in the four group improvisations that grace this disc -- the sense of interplay seems grounded in a shared history. Crossing The Passes represents the finest possible honed-edge in post Ornette Coleman Quartet dynamics -- adventurous, musical and swinging.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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