Born out of a pandemic-inspired reconnection with ocean swimming, these compositions are loosely themed on the physical and philosophical qualities of water as a common thread. From the outset, pianist Steve Barry is a most capable soloist whose qualities lie not so much in anomalous roundabouts, as in his ability to decipher themes and wrest the most intensity from them, engaging a modern jazz sound that combines a good deal of stylistic variation. The stand-out tracks, Lithospheric and First 11 are prime examples. Will Vinson is a nimble soloist when performing on alto and soprano saxophones. His interplay with Barry is about as compelling as one could ask for. The collaborations of Eric Harland involve a virtual and exhaustive who’s who of modern jazz, most prominently with The Charles Lloyd Quartet. A drummer’s drummer, who captures the deep essence of the music in his every beat, Harland, along with the bass playing Thomas Botting, provides the heartbeat that emulsifies and connects the ensemble. This is serious jazz, ably performed by four masters of the genre, and deserves to be considered on those terms.
– Barry O’Sullivan