You might reasonably expect a band named (Ba)SH to make a bunch of unadulterated noise. And with the great drummer Dana Hall’s bomb-dropping capabilities, they certainly are capable of that. But if any quality defines bassist Clark Sommers’ trio, featuring consummate saxophonist Geof Bradfield, it’s their exploratory sensibility. Having played together frequently over the years in various settings, with Sommers more often than not playing in support of Bradfield and Hall, this trio has developed a high-wire trust in each other – and in the music to go where it wants.
Using Sommers’ formidable wide-body sound as both a safety net and launching pad, Bradfield and Hall are free to cut loose when the moment calls for it. There’s considerable wit in the music, as reflected in “Fathom-a-Ning,” Bradfield’s playful nod to Thelonious Monk, and an abiding awareness of the great innovators who came before them. Sommers’ “Garrison” was written in honor of bassist Jimmy, who played with both John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Bradfield’s “Randy and Melba” salutes Randy Weston and Melba Liston, the great arranger celebrated in Bradfield’s admirable extended work, Melba!