Kirk Knuffke Quartet – Big Wig (CF 107)
Kirk Knuffke is a very creative trumpeter. Since moving to New York from Coloardo in 2005, he has played avant-garde jazz (including with Butch Morris) and pop music in addition to working with Ideal Bread, a group dedicated to the music of Steve Lacy. Knuffke’s recording debut as a leader ranges from free improvisations to free bop with a healthy dose of interplay between the trumpeter, trombonist Brian Drye, bassist Reuben Radding and drummer Jeff Davis. The playing is explorative and advanced yet concise, and the music fits such songtitles as “Enough,” “Normal” (which is almost a blues) and “Repeat.” Each of the musicians is clearly familiar with earlier jazz styles yet is uninhibited and open enough to improvise fairly freely within the confines of Knuffke’s originals. No musician overwhelms the ensembles and the results are colorful, witty, unpredictable, inventive and swinging in their own fashion.