Cadence Magazine review by David Dupont

Steve Adams Trio – Surface Tension (CF 131)
Steve Adams’ trio with bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Scott Amendola operates with freewheeling melodic intent. As a composer Adams provides the sparest frameworks in which he and his colleagues operate, and they all make the most of the prompts, springing forth with lyrical invention that may tug at tonality but never loses its grip on emotional urgency. That’s most obvious on “Little Ballad,” a melancholy piece with Adams in the lead on bass flute backed by percussive splashes that accent the stillness and Filiano’s ringing bass commentary that blossoms into a solo declaration. The lyrical cast holds true even when the trio kicks up the tempo, as on the Free Bop romp “Squelch” where the trio swings loosely and joyously. And Amendola is just as tuned into the sense of thematic unity as his bandmates, evident in the way his solo tumbles organically out of the head on “Squeamish.” For his part, Filiano delivers a beauty of a solo, full of folk implications to open “Surface Tension.” Even the wild closer with its ebbing and flowing groove spews melodic bits. Adams, who divides his time on all his horns here, is equally fierce on sopranino during the opening minutes and on strangled, groaning baritone as he drives the session home.
©Cadence Magazine 2010

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