There's something very elemental about this recording. Full of clean, sleek lines, big bold saxophone playing and firm harmonic and rhythmic support that allows the piano playing of Stefan Aeby to break free and for the drumming lines of Michael Stulz to seem so independent on 'Marvel' there is a real sense of outstanding flow. You wonder if this sheer effort can be maintained. Aeby's solution is a spiky chopped rhythmical onslaught on 'Seven Down Eight Up' where the whole band even saxist Christoph Irniger in the set-up become a sized up percussive unit. A studio recording made last spring in Lugano the Swiss quintet pivot meaningfully from the free-ish spiritual domain to a chugging rockist counter intuitive burst sometimes the latter sense provided by guitarist Dave Gisler's Marc Ribot like sense of upsetting the apple cart.
The title track has a serenity that this record is not afraid to delve into. Mostly Irniger's tunes this experienced band delivers in carving out a sense beyond what you might expect even when you think that you can read their moves and the Charles Lloyd-like turn of events on 'Calling the Spirits' is a pleasant surprise. Bassist Raffaele Bossard's composition towards the end is perhaps too tentative but 'Walking With Dinosaurs' completing an album that never outstays its welcome which Bossard leads off certainly isn't and the more extrovert this band prove as here the more successful the record ultimately becomes. Worth your while - Pilgrim are so much better than when they released Crosswinds. Out on 20 January.
'Marvel' and 'Ghost Cat' are streaming ahead of release.