Mike Baggetta, guitarist, composer, bandleader. His quartet was present on an excellent CD I covered here in 2011 (type his name into the search box above). The four return with another one, if anything even more fully realized, Thieves and Secrets
(Fresh Sound New Talent 436).
The quartet has nothing lacking in the lineup of Mike on guitars, Jason Rigby saxophones, Eivind Opsvik on contrabass and George Schuller on drums. Each are stylists in their own right, known for creative smarts and individuality, all of which meshes very well in this quartet.
Many guitarists when launching their own bands put great emphasis on their own playing and a showcase fitting in with that idea. Mike gets plenty of space here to show his wide-ranging musical thinking as a guitarist, yet the band itself and the concept of free yet worked-though sounds is at least as equally important.
And that is what makes this album special, or part of it anyway.
There are all manner of moods in the pieces here, much of it melodically direct and infectious, all of it showing an involved dynamic or four excellent players both listening to each other and setting individual roles far more than imitative.
Mike shows in the process that he is a voice that electrified or less so has an original stance, spontaneous and fresh, musically evolved, whether jazz-rocking it or freely articulating. And nicely so, the rest of the band also shows these qualities.
The compositions are memorable and the music stands out. This is an excellent listen. Lend your ears!