Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home

Rich Halley Quartet

Fire Within

Review by Gary Hill

We generally put fusion under progressive rock at Music Street Journal. That's because it tends to be more artsy and is not far removed from jazz prog. That's why this set gets put under that heading. The quartet here is made up of  Rich Halley (tenor saxophone), Matthew Shipp (piano), Michael Bisio (bass) and Newman Taylor Baker (drums). The music here is diverse and often challenging jazz. It's also stellar much of the time.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2024  Volume 1 More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Fire Within
Saxophone gets things going here. After a time piano joins, followed by the other instruments. This is a powerhouse jam that's crazed and rather freaky. Crazed piano takes command for a while, and the track just keeps getting reworked as it drives onward. This includes a drum solo later in its run. It gets back to a full arrangement at the end.
The bass is the only instrument for quite a while here. Saxophone and piano take over after a time. As this evolves, and the jamming continues, they get pretty crazed and intense at times. Piano takes an unaccompanied solo around the nine-minute mark.
Angular Logic
At a little over seven-minutes long, this is the second shortest thing here. It's an incredibly crazed and powerful jam. It's actually one of my favorites on the whole album.
Through Still Air
This is the shortest piece of music here at just over four-and-a-half minutes long. A good chunk of it is nearly silent. Eventually instruments rise up, but still feel slow moving and restrained. This is almost more of an interlude, but it has its moments.
Following the Stream
At close to 16 minutes long, this is the epic of the disc. Percussion starts it and holds it for a while. In fact, it's about three minutes before any other instruments are heard. When they do join we're taken into an exploratory jazzy jam that is classy. I really love the piano solo just past the halfway mark. Everything about this piece works well, though. There is some killer jamming beyond that point, but piano takes over again later. More killer group instrumental interplay takes over again before it's done.

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./