Even better than before under his own steam US double bassist Harish Raghavan a child of the 1980s who made his name with the great trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and showed a glimpse of what he could himself do as a leader on the slightly overcooked but still highly listenable-to Calls For Action here on an album of his own originals along with vibist Joel Ross prominent on the title track, guitarist Charles Altura, drummer Eric Harland and saxist-EWI player Morgan Guerin.
Recorded in a New York studio at the end of 2021 metrically advanced ('Circus Music') mood convincing - whether brooding on the title track, tender on 'Eight-Thirteen' or bustling in the faster passages sprinkled throughout - In Tense works as a bass statement particularly 's2020' but it is the context within group interplay that really matters not solo grandstanding. The interplay with Ross and collective endeavour are some of the most significant aspects of a fine record. The heads are beautifully voiced.
While Calls for Action was challenging and fairly satisfying this is more nuanced and the writing is far more direct. As a multi-hyphenate small group post-bop-slash-jazzrock-&-beyond statement In Tense remaps a sound that has been around since at least the 1980s mainly championed by Dave Holland and later Chris Potter but remains more state of the art than a stuck for inspiration glare in the rear view mirror of any description in Raghavan's rendering. The apocalyptic reach of the impact of the arc of any number of pieces but achieved most on 'Ama' also lifts the album to a new level where the music certainly moves us most.
More reading and listening - see the updated marlbank best of the year list as In Tense makes the 10