Scott Fields is a player of genuine stature in this realm. And the recording is a well-healed excursion with a top-notch ensemble. The album is named 5 Frozen Eggs (Clean Feed 258).
Scott Fields amassed some signpost-like and/or more fleshed-out compositions for the date to help the ensemble set mood, tone and direction. Then he and the group cut loose with some very free and eloquent improvisations. The results are what one might expect if you know the players--Marilyn Crispell on piano, Hamid Drake, drums, Hans Sturm, acoustic bass, and of course Scott on electric.
The Fields guitar style is pretty (sometimes very) electric and filled with all kinds of melodic twists and turns. You get the feeling listening as he plays that there is no discernable gap between what he thinks musically and what comes out of the instrument. The mind envisions lines of broad harmonic ramification, the hands execute with style and drama. He's creating lines that sound like they are completely his--because they ARE.
The piano improvisations of Ms. Crispell are, as always, extraordinarily creative and impactful. Her playing has a logic to it and flows in unending inspiration, or so it sounds. Hans Sturm churns it up at the bottom with an excellent sound and feel. Hamid Drake comes across as poised, dead-on, yet very free. He swings in his very own way when called upon and he like the others can create much that's inspired in a spontaneous setting. The complete drummer, he is.
So there you have it--four excellent improvisers doing great work interactively and individually, some appropriate compositional frameworks within which that happens, and a guitar stylist who belongs to a category of one, Scott Fields.
It's music that stays essential and vibrant throughout. If I were rich and they were available, I'd have these folks play at my birthday party! The next best thing is 5 Frozen Eggs. Happy birthday to everybody with this one! Fields and company create music that celebrates life, freely and smartly.