Throughout his time as an improvising bandleader in New York City, saxophonist Tony Malaby has led a host of groups, amongst them a trio with tuba and drums and another with cello and drums (documented on 2008’s Warblepeck). The timbral and textural possibilities of those trios were unmatched and provided ample creative fodder for Malaby’s idiosyncratic concept to come forth. In recent years, Malaby decided to fold both instruments into a quartet and to enlist some of his most consistent collaborators for the project: tubist Dan Peck, cellist Christopher Hoffman, and drummer/percussionist John Hollenbeck. The result is Scorpion Eater, the latest record in Malaby’s string of inventive releases on Clean Feed Records. “This band has a different type of gravity that playing with a bassist simply doesn’t have. I just want to be embedded in that and just be in the middle”, says the New York based saxophonist, one of the most compelling in creative jazz today. The phrasing and texture on Scorpion Eater are remarkable both because of its flexibility and also on account of its rhythmic looseness, with Malaby’s supple saxophone stylings dwelling atop of the energy of his bandmates. This is music that is enrapturing, compelling, and ultimately pleasureful and rewarding. It has an intoxicating energy that Malaby’s presence on the saxophone immediately demands.