A skilful sextet album led by Max Luthert, debuting as a leader in the studio, the bassist, best known for his work in Partikel, showing a strong compositional method here. 

All his own tunes, beginning with ‘Grand Designs’, there is a lot of jazz history in the Luthert imagination that manages to encompass hard bop, Cool, and even chamber jazz terrain, Duncan Eagles’ tenor saxophone sounding more Wayne Shorter-like than ever Eagles does alongside Luthert in Partikel, and so tender in his own playing voice for instance on the ballad ‘Quiet December.’

Drummer Dave Hamblett is a stimulatingly perky presence but he has, surrounded by players so innately rhythmic, to fight for space particularly on the climax of ‘The Edgewall’.

Even if there aren’t too many silences somehow a spatial sense is invoked despite the hustle and bustle of the arrangements especially on the absorbing ‘Pacific Before Tiger.’

Recorded in October last year a very mature work for a debut, some very “at ease” blowing, altoist Séb Pipe’s taut, dramatic sound blending in well. Flautist Gareth Lockrane offers plenty of timbral variety, particularly on a standout solo passage of ‘Assam’ where pianist Matt Robinson backing him manages to channel a John Taylor-like atmosphere.

Luthert has a fine sense of time and a big jazz vocabulary at his disposal, his modernistic sound encompassing the bass tradition that stretches from Richard Davis to Dave Holland.  SG

Released on 27 October