Paul Bley has an heir at last, and his name is Russ Lossing. With strong classical training and the natural talent to improvise, this pianist is, like Bley, walking a hard road to achieve his purposes. As far as free jazz is concerned, he doesn’t play what you would normally expect from what some also call “fire music”. Lossing clearly preferes nuance to power, even if he does have the drive. In “Metal Rat” we find two first line string players at his side (small wonder, considering Lossing’s other partnerships: Dave Liebman, Paul Motian, Bob Moses, Bobby Previte…the list goes on), violinist / violist Mat Maneri and bassist Mark Dresser, and it all makes sense. Maneri’s adaptation of the serialism is well known, and the way Dresser uses his bow makes clear the kind of background he has. This isn’t “chamber jazz” or “third stream”, but jazz with an extra dimension, well supported in the modern and contemporary piano tradition as much as in jazz piano history. The pace of the music is quite surprising, especially since it was recorded with a sense of urgency, taking less than four hours in the studio. It includes two compositions and four improvisations, and on the title track Lossing manipulates the inside of his instrument with his fingers and several objects, the sustain pedal always down. You can’t get more physical than that.