A fascination with traditional counterpoint applied to contemporary improvisation is the departure point from which this trio explores textures of 16th century polyphony through a microtonal jazz. The hidden source, Josquin’s Missa L’homme armé, is abstracted in slipping glimpses of melancholy strains and dynamic unisons. Featuring Joe Moffett (trumpet); Noah Kaplan (saxophones); and Giacomo Merega (electric bass).
In his liner notes, Dan Trueman describes the players’ translation of traditional modes: “These tracks…seem to pry open the suspension, making it wider, longer, deeper—imagine we have been given a sonic microscope so we can focus in on the tiny spaces between musical tones, and a time machine so we can slow these tones down and take the time to fully inspect them… As the crow dives down to take a closer look, the tiny cracks along the tectonic seam—the little bits of earth that keep the plates from sliding—reveal their beautiful details… and their frictional significance.”
"The counterpoint and arising dissonance of Josquin’s music underlie these concentrated works— 10 pieces in 33 minutes—each of them a studied exercise in close listening and pacing. No line—no tone—develops independently. Each musician’s part is engaged with a complex whole that is gradually realized, the timbres themselves—the brassy shards of trumpet; round and hollow sound of tenor; warm, electric hum of bass—allowing each sound to pass through or to combine, identity arising everywhere as sonic relationship. Occasionally a piece will jump out for its greater animation, like the aptly named “Buzz” or concluding “Discontinuity with Finale”, but each is an exercise in scrutinizing pitch, its character and the nature of its combinations. It’s singularly demanding listening, with correspondingly high rewards." -- Russ Musto, New York City Jazz Record
"On this intimate album the three musicians weave calm but intense sonic textures, with lots of emphasis and value on single tones, on shifting micro-tones which result in almost human voice inflexions, and an almost contemplative interplay. They describe it themselves as applying "traditional counterpoint to contemporary improvisation", and the result deserves to be heard to audiences outside New York." -- The Free Jazz Collective
"Closer in comparison to a haiku of Japanese brush painting or an epic poem, the Crows and Motives session revels in its microtonality while demonstrating how committed improvisers can create perceptions of depth, volume and form within these limited parameters. Unhurried and sometimes laggardly, the three New York-based players, singly or in tandem (s) vibrate the trimbres to highlight outstanding contrasts while moving the 10 miniatures appropriately and chromatically forward. . . those who fasten on the hushed interaction and subtle expression of translucent tones will be amply rewarded." -- Ken Waxman, JazzWord