Mars Williams, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Tim Daisy

Moments Form (Idyllic Noise, 2013) ****

"Moments Form" does not need time to warm up, it just starts -- a solid stream of invention and drive. Could one expect anything less from free jazz stalwarts, Mars Williams, Tim Daisy and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten? All are experienced and hard hitting improvisors and this consistently engaging album certainly, at the very least, solidifies this perception.

   Williams' tone is bright and fiery and his initial flight in the opening moments sets the bar high. Deftly supported by the bass and drums, the saxophonist fires on all cylinders, delivering endless melodic snippets. Haker Flatens energetic bass solo, or rather dialog with Daisy's drumming, is intense, if a bit under mic'd. Over the course of 24 minutes, the song ebbs and flows, breaking down to individual voices at times, oscillating between density and spaciousness, often building from ruminative to driving.

   "Galactic Ballet" begins with gentle rumbles of an extended percussion solo. Volume kept low, the intensity is maintained through taught rhythmic patterns and a range of textures. The track builds in volume until Daisy hands the proceedings over to the bassist for a short solo, and finally to Williams, who introduces a keening melody. The group coalesces around a steady tempo and the saxophonist  takes the slowly building improv to an intense climax.

   The sounds that Williams wrenches from his instrument on a "Disjointed Stutter" are fascinatingly bleak and lay uncomfortably over an intriguingly disjointed groove. It's an aptly titled track, at least in the middle bits, before settling into a steadier, but still uneven, pattern. Daisy and Haker Flaten show an uncanny connection, creating a solid and unpredictable foundation.

   Moments Form is an album full of passionately played free jazz that deftly skirts the edge between control and chaos. I had a bit of trouble scouring up much information about the release, but it is worth tracking down.

-Paul Acquaro