Denny Zeitlin & George Marsh – Riding The Moment – Sunnyside SSC1408, 75:27 ****:

(Denny Zeitlin – acoustic piano, hardware & virtual synthesizers, keyboards; George Marsh – drums, percussion)

From the time that Denny Zeitlin first began recording in 1963, the word conventional was never part of his musical vocabulary. He is a creative pianist with an approach to music, while idiosyncratic, is respectful of the jazz antecedents from which his ideas are developed. The latest iteration on this voyage of discovery is entitled Riding The Moment, which blends technology and music, to deliver a listening experience that is both demanding and exhilarating.

Participating with Zeitlin in this adventure, is long-time collaborator and co-composer, percussionist/drummer George Marsh. Working in a setting whereby the two players were unseen on opposite sides of the studio, the music is the result of a spontaneous meeting of minds. This concept is not an unusual position for Zeitlin as he explained in an interview with writer Marc Myers on his blog JazzWax dated August 06, 2009: “When I am doing my most effective work as a musician playing with other musicians, I try to lose that positional sense of self, so I can enter their musical world and merge with what they are doing.”

Trying to approach this music in any traditional sense is probably a “mug’s game” as the definition of jazz would be stretched to its limits. Even the titles of the compositions do not provide any guidance as to what might be coming when the music starts. For the reviewer, the task of finding the appropriate words to describe or define the music, is a challenge as the standard phraseology does not readily apply. So whether it is “Back On The Horse” “Marching To A Different Drummer” or “Down The Rabbit Hole” the words melody, harmony, rhythm, fills, do not apply. However words like angularity, convulsive potency, exploratory force, daring, might well be appropriate.

This release might not be for everyone, but for some it is a listening adventure worth taking.

TrackList: Back On The Horse; Fermenting; Marching To A Different Drummer; Setting Sail; Vortex; Broken Nest; The Visit; Wheels & Tracks; Very Bari; Gears; Down The Rabbit Hole; Quest

—Pierre Giroux