This is intelligent and stimulating jazz from leading saxophonist Speake, who shows he can compose, too. The playing might be complex, but it’s a non-threatening sound: not exactly laid back, but certainly not edgy.
It’s an album that needs a lot of listening to, as it adheres to no one style, from blues to bop, and from smooth late-night sounds to free jazz. It’s all thoughtful; it’s well-bred music for when you want something house-trained, though not tame. The playing is excellent and nuanced, especially the piano, and of course Speake’s unobtrusive sax.
The players are Speake, alto sax; Ethan Iverson on piano, Fred Thomas on bass and James Maddren, drums. Out on Ubuntu Music, UBU0009.