One of our favourite avant records last year was the Michael Marcus, Joe McPhee, Warren Smith, Jay Rosen extravaganza Blue Reality Quartet! Serene and quiet, contemplative, you could really hear the extra elements of the instruments and the expression in the crafting and the way the afternotes mean something.
They repeat that suite of emotions here and it is a tonic for the senses.
Make no mistake they do not play the sentimental cosy card but they are delivering direct from the heart. Abstract music that has its own sense of tonality flirting with melody but with pulse and vibrational revelation even more important engrained deep down the quartet are back with Ella's Island just as good if not better than last year's gem.
Perhaps you don't get the Mingusian sense you got on the earlier record's 'Joe's Train' but instead there is even more classic width say on 'Minefields In Opulence' for instance when the approach journeys more Dolphy-like instead. Smith adds a lot of dynamic velocity within the sound which is a strong suit of the album overall as too is the Bud Powell homage 'Buttercup' where Rosen rises to the challenge. 'Low and Slow' is moving - simple as that and no higher praise. We'd love to hear this quartet live, a thought to cling on to however much an impossible dream that may well turn out to be.