All the material on Red Line is new. The takes are long, and we can hear Potter count off the tempos. His writing is full of tension and release, combining short, syncopated hooks and involved unison lines, open-ended vamps and passages of rippling harmonic complexity. The dialectic of loose and tight, of driving funk and softer lyricism, is quickly evident on the opening “Train.” It continues on “Arjuna,” which features a vicious Taborn solo on a minor-key ostinato. Rogers channels the mellower Hendrix on the first half of “Pop Tune #1,” before a vamp erupts and Potter takes the lead, blowing inspired tenor. “Viva Las Vilnius” heats up after a spacey interlude to highlight Rogers at his deadliest. The set concludes with “Togo,” an Ed Blackwell piece from Old and New Dreams that suits the band beautifully. Potter interprets this and the preceding track, “Zea,” a peaceful seven-minute tone poem, on bass clarinet. After Taborn’s gorgeous Rhodes setup, as “Zea” evolves, it hints at the evocative chamber jazz to be found on Song for Anyone.
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