Click here to [close]

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adam Lane Trio – Absolute Horizon (NoBusiness, 2013) ****

By Dan Sorrells

I’m a sucker for the thick, bluesy tone of Adam Lane’s bass—somehow, he always manages to convey its grittiest, most grounded side. Absolute Horizon kicks off with a track of the same name,  a slow tattoo rising from drummer Vijay Anderson and Lane stumbling into a bass line that can’t help but give off a little swagger. Slowly, a groove coalesces, just the sort of low-end ride to best deliver Darius Jones’s sickly-sweet saxophone. Within minutes, you realize: this is what I want in a saxophone trio. There’s an edge for sure, but also the piece that fits perfectly into the well-worn rhythmic folds of your brain. Things heat up, but the trio never breaks a sweat. They ease out of the track just a coolly and calmly as they brought it into being.

The rest of Absolute Horizon can be typified by a track like “The Great Glass Elevator,” which breaks out a slick bassline about halfway through, the rhythm section working its way to a place where Jones gets everything he needs to go to town.  And he does, getting such a deep, soulful sound out his alto that it sounds far more substantial, like a tenor. Elsewhere, “Stars” finds Lane bowing the hell out of his effects-laden bass. It’s not the most effective track, but it showcases a different side of the group as they move away from bluesy, heavily rhythmic improvisation and work towards continuously molding and remolding a unified slab of sound.  “Run to Infinity” sounds just as it should, a driving rhythm over which Jones continually accelerates, the gaps between notes becoming ever shorter, the melodic line further and further compressed. Absolute Horizon closes on “Light,” which has a walking bassline that would be better characterized as sprinting, complete with racing high-hat and uncontainable shouts of exhilaration in the background.

The CD version of Absolute Horizon  is nearly twice the length of the LP, though the vinyl may be the more effective dose. Still, the CD-only tracks are worth your time (“Apparent Horizon” has a particularly tasty bit of drum and bass).  Basically, Absolute Horizon is the usual NoBusiness story: above-average musicians making above-average music. A little something for fans of Lane’s rawer side after the more straight-ahead sounds of the Blue Spirit Band releases.

Check out some samples here and you can purchase it at