With "The Irrational Numbers," composer/bassist Drew Gress adds another stellar album to his already impressive discography of smart and uncompromising modern jazz. Utilizing the same core group of players who appeared on Gress' previous Premonition album, 7 Black Butterflies, Gress demonstrates, and continues to develop a rare alchemy in jazz: the seamless merging of serious harmonic and melodic structuralism with free and open-minded improvisations. On previous efforts, he has maybe emphasized the blowing for this is a group of musicians who can, and will, play anything. With "The Irrational Numbers," however Gress leans more on the compositions and on his own emphatic bass playing (there are 6 Gress solos on the album). The effect is to step back and view an important work of art from a completely different perspective. You see what you saw before but it is enhanced and enlivened by the different angle. Among the 10 new Gress compositions on the album, "Chevelle," "Your Favorite Kind," "By Far" and "True South," are standouts.
"The Irrational Numbers" features Tim Berne on saxophone, Tom Rainey on drums, Craig Taborn on piano, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Drew Gress on bass and electronics. David Torn, who produced 7 Black Butterflies, is back and adds his brilliant touch.