Monday, April 30, 2012

Esperanza Spalding: Radio Music Society

Esperanza Spalding (bass)
Radio Music Society (Concord Music; 2012)

Now that I've spent the last year absorbing the music of Esperanza Spalding, I have to say you might not have expected the transformation that her music gone through. But you would be impressed with the muscularity and maturity of writing over the course of the last four records.

From the Brazilian influence of Junjo and Esperanza to the fully functional concept of Chamber Music Society; her performances have  been bolder and more confident. The latest, Radio Music Society now moves her to a different level in the more popular audience view. It's a massive achievement and strong step forward.

Sounding more like Soul-jazz and R&B than even its predecessor, Radio Music Society really knocked me out. Spalding's vocals dominate this setting more than her bass but that's okay. You get a taste of that with the opener, "Radio Song" which declares this outing will be a different beast altogether. The thumping beats, slow funk lines and chanting that--"this song's the one"--make the statement that this session is more for popular consumption.

"Black Gold" is probably the anthem piece here. A midtempo piece discussing how Black people should stand proud. While lyrically it speaks to the Black American consciousness, it can easily be directed to everyone as a sign of inspiration. Lionel Loueke's personal and bluesy guitar work add just the right tone and reflectiveness that make "Black Gold" very striking.

"Hold On Me," a more classic big band sultry ballad seems to work better than I originally thought. Janice Scroggins leads the line here with some work on the keys that joins sweetly next to Spalding's lovely vocal delivery.

"Smile Like That" has shades of 70's soul jazz records. Spalding's bass is more prominent in the mix and Leon Genovese adds a groovy bit on the fender rhodes to make the sound very organic. Gilad Hekselman's guitar forces a rock treatment into the mix but it doesn't become overbearing. An interesting closing number to an album that is very diverse and bold.

Everyone may argue the merits or talent of this young bass player/composer. I've accepted this as a Soul Jazz record not a contemporary jazz piece, and I have been solidly convinced - She is the real deal.

Built on a slew of themes, Radio Music Society may not be many folks cup of tea on the jazz side. It's definitely a strong follow up and well deserving of the positive attention from the wider musical public. And if this is the entry point for some to jazz so be it. It's a great way to start. Highly Recommended.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dennis Rollins: The 11th Gate

Dennis Rollins (trombone)
The 11th Gate (Motema Music; 2011)
Pedro Segundo (drums)
Ross Stanley (organ)

He's only been on the scene a short while but Dennis Rollins has garnered praise in U.K. circles. First through his soul-jazz outfit, Badbone, which had more in common with the work of Soweto Kinch or mid-period Courtney Pine than "traditional" straightahead jazz. His latest incarnation is his Velocity Trio which also explores a variety of themes on its debut, The 11th Gate.

For me, Dennis Rollins has a unique and uncanny way of turning the sound of his trombone into the sound of a saxophone. And he displays that throughout The 11th Gate, along with some very surprising arrangements which makes this a fresh and exciting listen. "Samba Galactica" jumps with fine classic Latin grooves and some soulful organ work by Stanley. Rollins seems to have maintained his R&B/Hip Hop influences but channeled that into a very mature modern structure this time out.

An uptempo vibe filled with some lovely passages by each member flows through on "Ujamma." The trio show elements of both hard bop and spirituality that digs deep and wide. Rollins feels relaxed and seems to be having a great deal of fun. This moves slow to fast quickly, along with changing drum patterns and echoing effects on Rollins' trombone. Stanley has a sweet solo that is filled with some lush tones that are amazing.

"The Big Chill" is fantastic, featuring a dazzling mixture of time changes by Segundo in the opening passages. In addition, Rollins lays down some humorous and well crafted notes in juxtaposition. The piece later switches to a very funky, psychedelic rhythm with Rollins on muted trombone. "The 11th Gate" with it's gospel influence refers to Rollins' 47th birthday (4+7=11). But even more importantly its a special way to close out this album. It's downtempo but reflective piece on how we should be seeking a more positive connection to each other and our place in the world.

In just a few short years, Dennis Rollins has quickly matured and balanced his R&B influences with desire to go beyond the numbered structures of jazz. With his Velocity Trio he has a very unique and industrious group that hopefully will record more frequently. The 11th Gate is a brilliant work.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lynne Arriale: Solo

Lynne Arriale (piano)
Solo (Motema Music; 2012)

Lynne Arriale has been producing a solid array of albums for a decade and a half now. I personally don't think she gets enough credit or focus Stateside, but maybe I'm reading the wrong papers/magazines.

A style that is both in tune with legends such as Jarrett and Tyner but also aligned with contemporaries like Charlap and Mehldau. Either way, I think more people need to know and discover the simple beauty and complexity of Lynne Arriale. And there's no better time to experience it than now with her new release, Solo.

After so many soothing and delicate records in the quartet and trio format you would be shocked to hear that this is her first full solo album. Arriale pulls out a lot of intimacy and longing throughout Solo. It's filled with a number pieces she's performed and recorded over the entirety of her career, including one of my favourites "Arise" (originally on the 2005 album of the same name).

There's some humorous improvisation on Solo, as evident on the opener, "La Noche." Arriale's technique hearkens back to her classical training but the important aspect here is her ability to make you think of it differently. To the point that its not classical or jazz. It's just beautiful notes creating a story of your own choosing. "The Dove" and "Arise" both illicit a spiritual response - a gospel like aura surrounds these two pieces. They are gentle and have melodies that tell the listener to look inside oneself.

Her two covers of the Thelonious Monk tunes, "Evidence," and "Bye-Ya" are played with invention and an acute sense of intuitiveness. She really does turn these pieces into her own. And you quickly forget about the original melody and are engrossed with her dynamic re-arrangements. "Sea And Sand" is poetic and compelling. A felling of longing and desire wraps around you as you listen to the number. Arriale's performance is close and connects on many different levels.

I've always loved the intimacy of Lynne Arriale's records but nothing will strike you more than when you hear a great musician alone with their instrument than when you hear Solo. A wonderful record for all jazz fans (and yes you there thinking you're not a jazz fan--yes, you.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jeff Parker: Bright Light In Winter

Jeff Parker (guitar)
Bright Light In Winter (Delmark; 2012)
Chad Taylor (drums)
Chris Lopes (bass)

Jeff Parker has been unstoppable force on the Chicago scene as well as international for a few decades now. Some may know the name from the highly influential band Tortoise or his work with Matana Roberts, Fred Anderson and Ken Vandermark to name just a few.

His own output as leader has been limited but still exceptional and rewarding. His latest, Bright Light In Winter is moving, versatile and experimental.

There a sonic echo chamber quality to Parker's solo material that resonates through each of his records. It's vividly apparent on the opener, "Mainz," as the trio runs through a deep reservoir of sound. The thumbing bassline from Lopes and the almost rhythmic tapping of Taylor seep in with a romantic melody by Parker. The piece becomes very hypnotic and intoxicating as it moves forward.

Parker writes or outlines a grey course for rolling drums and funky bass patterns on "Freakadelic." This allows the trio to improvise fluidly and freely. Lopes' notes are embedded in the mix but just audible enough for you to feel the groove points.

"The Meaning Of The 5th" is a ballad that is highlighted by Lopes (who also wrote the piece) performing on flute. This might bring to mind some of the more soul-jazz themes of the '70s or more recent work by Nicole Mitchell. It's a calming piece that shows the straight ahead side of Parker's writing.

"Bright Light, Black Site" adds a bit of Latin rhythm to the mix. The piece moves in different gears but always keeps a nice rumba appeal. Parker's lines are rich, dense and very textured. He turns in a lovely performance that feels like a combination of periods from Jim Hall to John Abercrombie. Cool yet experimental.

While his performances and recordings have quietly built up his presence within and outside of the jazz scene, Jeff Parker still needs the wider audience he deserves. Bright Light In Winter is just another brilliant record in the canon of Jeff Parker's arsenal. But its a work of experimental and modern excellence. A true must listen.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Undiscovered Soul: The Right Now

The Right Now (group)
Gets Over You (Right Now Music; 2012)
Stefanie Berecz (vocals)
Chris Corsale (guitar)
Jonathan Edwards (sax)
John Smillie (drums)
Greg Nergaard (bass)
Brendan O'Connell (keyboard, guiar)
Jim Schram (sax)

You remember the first time you heard Brand New Heavies, Beverley Knight or New Mastersounds? Well, that same excitement and awe is what you might feel when you take listen to the Chicago band The Right Now. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon them but I'm glad I did. A real sense of 70's and 80's soul that is balanced but is energized by the modern (yet retro) vocals of Stefanie Berecz.

The band's first album, Carry Me Home said a lot about the sextet's intentions. Here was a serious soul band emerging from one the most important soul hubs of America's Midwest with a vibe that is completely universal. It was fun, raucous and oozing with deep sumptuous vocals, lyrics of empowerment and funky beats.

The new album, Gets Over You is killer from the opening chords of 'Can't Speak For You." I almost felt like I was listening to Beverley Knight fronting BNH. The big fighting words of "speak for yourself, 'cause I can't speak for you" tower over you like giant wave. It may be a girlfriend speaking to another girlfriend about standing up but it can also tell all of us that we can all stand up against our own personal demons.

"Can't Keep Running," another song of love and loss pulls you into the Chicago Rhythm and Blues mode with passionate delivery from Berecz. The guitars from Corsale and keyboard work from O'Connell give the piece a dreamlike atmosphere which is balanced by the low toned horn work in the background.

"I Could Kiss You" is another deep soul groove packed with dense playing from Edwards, Schram and Nergaard. Berecz's presence reminds me of the more recent Bettye LaVette material - slightly raspy and a screaming representative for the lovelorn.

"Half As Much" is a massive punch in the face with a soul-hammer! All instruments are in unison here and the group just project a solid roundabout of R&B that if you aren't infected by the end of this 3 minute dissertation on love, there's something seriously wrong with you. Smillie's drums go from funkier to penetrating at the flip of a switch.

And if that weren't enough, they blast off with "Call Girl," a soaring piece of funk that will definitely get you thinking Brand New Heavies (with N'dea Davenport). Closing out the disc is the midtempo romp "Til It Went Wrong." Flowery melodies and groovin' hooks will definitely set you in place with the best soul tracks from the '80s. 

An absolutely perfect collection that balances out the past and future of soul. Chicago's answer to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings? Maybe. But really these two bands go in very different directions on the soul scale. Gets Over You is a confident and well accomplished effort from The Right Now that should be on everyone's list by the end of 2012. It is definitely one of JazzWrap's Albums of the Year. Highly, Highly, Highly Recommended!...Oh, wait....Highly Recommended!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Phronesis: Walking Dark

Phronesis (trio)
Walking Dark (Editions Records; 2012)
Jasper Hoiby (bass)
Anton Eger (drums)
Ivo Neame (piano)

The blistering rise of Phronesis over the last few years is astounding and well justified. The trio along with the Neil Cowley Trio and Kit Downes Trio have been one of leading lights of the modern British jazz scene. Their counterparts Polar Bear, Get The Blessing and Led Bib take a more avant garde approach but Phronesis have set out in more contemporary fashion and developed into a tight knit outfit that delivers a solid statement each time out.

Their latest, Walking Dark stands as another important piece in the work of a trio that is ready for the next level recognition. "Democracy" spells it out for this dynamic trio. Neame's playing is nimble, playful and wrapped in crisp precision. Hoiby's bass fills the room with a warm resonance that holds the listen tight to attention. The drums are soft and Eger compliments his bandmates supreme agility. "Charm Defensive" is an introspective piece that is calm and revolves around the subtle notes of Neame and bold hues brilliantly executed by Hoiby.

"The Economist" is slightly more uptempo with some propulsive beats and rhythms constructed by Neame and Eger. The pace is strong with intense velocity. The pieces change pace and timing quickly but it's never jarring. There are complicated notes throughout "The Economist" but Hoiby and his mates project a flexibility to the number that you glide perfectly through it. "Eight Hours", which originally appeared on the live album, Alive, solemnly closes the album with joyful melancholia that has a lovely breath and depth that feel more in the studio than from it's predecessor.

Walking Dark is again another step in the right direction for Phronesis. They have already separated themselves from the pact; but hopefully this is the record that capitalizes on what many of us already know. Phronesis are a one of best bands in England. And deserves your undivided attention.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Plaistow: Lacrimosa

Plaistow (trio)
Lacrimosa (Insubordinations Netlabel; 2012)
Cyril Bondi (drums)
Johann Bourguenez (piano)
Raphael Ortis (bass)

Swiss trio, Plaistow have only been on the scene since 2007, but have slowly developed and crafted a style that has become more experimental and adventurous with each release. Starting in a post-bop style similar to E.S.T., RGG or Keith Jarrett Trio this trio have continually branched out. Plaistow's last album, The Crow set the tone for what would come today. A mixture of soft tones and forward thinking themes. In some ways you could liken it The Necks. But slightly different than their Australian counterparts, Plaistow add a bit of melody into the mix. Melodic but moving. 

On the bands fifth release, Lacrimosa, they have achieved a combination of existential bliss and infectious grooves. Plaistow exemplify this with the two lengthy tracks that make up this spellbinding document. The title track moves gently in a revolving pattern that is reminiscent of The Necks or Philip Glass solo. Bourguenez has displays a steady yet fast coordination at the piano. While Ortis' bass melds into the notes like a calm heartbeat. As the piece moves into its middle stages Bondi's drums become more apparent and the trio starts to build on a groove. And just when you think it's going in a more song structured direction,  the trio stop cold and return to an ambient pace and ride you out to the finale.

The second piece, "Cube" is more uptempo (so to speak) with Bondi and Ortis being the focal point in open chords. The notes of circular but present almost an indie rock feel to them. Bondi hits the kit with fury and Ortis becomes almost haunting in what feels like a deep two note plucking. Bourguenez joins in late on to add a tanscendent tone to the piece. Then "Cube" begins to get very experimental with Ortis and Bourguenez stretching and bending the sound barrier on their instruments with swirling psychedelic and eerie effects. The piece closes on the rock theme note in which it opened. Stellar to say the least.

Plaistow are really finding their voice and developing into a band with great ideas. If you haven't discovered them yet, now is the time. Lacrimosa is an album that should not be missed. And if you are in a European country, you must see them live (and let me know about it). I only wish I had the chance. 

Plaistow - Lacrimosa (Live In Strasbourg, 17 nov 2011) from Plaistow on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jonathan Blake: The Eleventh Hour

Jonathan Blake (drums)
The Eleventh Hour (Sunnyside; 2012)
Ben Street (bass)
Kevin Hays (piano, fender rhodes)
Jaleel Shaw (sax)
Mark Turner (sax)

Tom Harrell (trumpet)
Gregoire Maret (harmonica)
Robert Glasper (piano, fender rhodes)
Tim Warfield (sax)

While the most popular jazz musician around at the moment might be Robert Glasper, I wanted to discuss another musician who is utilizing the urban landscape as part of his journey in transforming the view of jazz.

I first came across Jonathan Blake on a couple albums by Japanese American soul singer, Monday Michiru (who you really need to check out as well). He has also worked with a number of jazz artists including Tom Harrell, Russell Malone, Kenny Barron and Oliver Lake. From all of these and more sessions, his playing has expanded with a gentle, soulful tone that can turn fierce at the blink of an eye.

It's amazing that its taken over 15 years to emerge with this debut, The Eleventh Hour. But it is an impressive debut that was worth the wait. Blake's diversity has shown an array of musicians that sit in on this session (including the aforementioned Glasper). The title track opens the album with a soulful, almost acid jazz vibe. Glasper's fender rhodes adds that funky psychedelia to this fine throwback piece. Blake's beats are infectious and well matched by deep reaching tones from the always focused Hays, Shaw and the incomparable, Mark Turner. 

"Rio's Dream" is more understated and romantic. A midtempo ballad where Blake's performance is subtle, he allows Hays to perform a rhythmic stance in guiding the group. Shaw and Turner are in solid conversation and provide a dynamic that is of the highest order.

"Of Things To Come" is a fast paced hard bop number in which Blake's rapid fire precision is essential. His writing also allows rest of the group an opportunity to fly; like street sounds, almost beatnik in some of the plucking. Shaw and Turner sound so in tune with each other that you wonder why they don't record together more often.

"Canvas" is an optimal closing number that brings the outing back into soulful focus. A soft bluesy ballad that has some free flowing element to it is also highlighted by Gregoire Maret and Robert Glasper's emotional yet abstracting constructions. A solid closing argument.

With The Eleventh Hour, Jonathan Blake has created a document that is moving, melodic, diverse and soulful. It's an album that should garner the same praise Glasper's effort in re-imagining the popular scene of American jazz. Highly Recommended.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Neil Cowley Trio: The Face Of Mount Molehill

Neil Cowley Trio (group)
The Face Of Mount Molehill (Naim Records; 2012)
Neil Cowley (piano)
Rex Horan (bass)
Evan Jenkins (drums)

The Neil Cowley Trio have quietly and arguably made themselves the most important and exciting group in Britain right now.

Yes, one of my other favourites that I will discuss later in the week (Phronesis) are also in the same category. Neil Cowley though seems to have made his group's compositions large and entertaining which in turn gives them an even broader appeal. And that makes The Face Of Mount Molehill one of the best albums of year.

"Lament" opens the album with a soft emotional plea. Cowley takes the listener on a journey that is mostly reflective and poignant. "Rooster Was A Witness" feels like an E.S.T. piece with big themes and arrangements. New bassist Rex Horan provides muscle and versatility that adds to Cowley's "all things are possible with music attitude" writing style. This all allows Jenkins to really cut loose with abandon.

"Fable" booms into the frame like something from Joe Jackson's best years. It's upbeat, fierce and well balanced. Kept on one fast tone, "Fable" makes a statement that Neil Cowley is here to change things around this session. 

"Skies Are Rare" returns us to Cowley's classical origins but with big ballad overtures. The piece undulates and maneuvers slowly with grace and beauty. But it also shows Cowley's panache for diversity. The title track is another moment where you might expect a vocalist to drop in but it is an appeal and highly enjoyable piece - uptempo and a chorus that sticks in your head for hours later.

"Siren's Last Look Back" is short but beautifully closes out this session on a deep yet sparse note. It's has an ambient quality to it that really carries you out on a dreamlike state.

The Face Of Mount Molehill is a long journey through the experiences of life's ups and downs. And Neil Cowley has once again proven his trio is one of the most diverse in England and possibly Europe at the moment. The gap between all others and the revered Esbjorn Svensson Trio may soon shrink if Cowley keeps this up. Highly Recommended.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jared Gold: Golden Child

Jared Gold (organ)
Golden Child (Posi-Tone Records; 2012)
Quincy Davis (drums)
Ed Cherry (guitar)

Rolling along in a funkier groove than his previous quartet outing, All Wrapped Up, Jared Gold returns right on time with another soul jazz gem--Golden Child. This time in a trio session with Ed Cherry (guitar) and Quincy Davis (drums). It's like John Patton, Wes Montgomery and Billy Higgins been have locked in a room with a large chest of soul classics to get them through the night.

Opening with a charged up version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," Gold keeps the soulful impact of the impassioned ballad but adds a fire and urgency that makes the piece his own. Cherry's guitar provides the romantic element, while Davis applies the groove beat that makes for an uplifting opener to a journey that is about to sizzle.

At times this feels like a raw version of Medeski Martin Wood. It's the grit and the groove without the dramatics. That's a good thing on Golden Child. It leaves you squarely focused on the tune. "14 Carat Gold"  is the trio in a blues mood with a few twists and turns created through Gold's unique and varied lens. His improvised lines about two thirds in are smokin'. He really has a way of turning the organ into more than just the funk/blues instrument it's sometimes associated with. His lines feel like they were performed first on the piano (which I'm sure was not the case)--they are crisp, inventive and flowing.

With "Pensa Em Mim," Gold projects a soft gospel tone that soothes and creates a jubilant Sunday morning vibe. Gold's organ rises and falls while Cherry and Davis distribute colourful touches around the edges. It's somber but with a joyous undertone. "Times Up" crackles with heavy rapid exchanges during the opener by Gold and Davis. Gold tears into the keys like it was the last performance ever. The intensity is fueled by the bebop spirit that came before but Gold projects his own vision that makes this a very dynamic piece.

Jared Gold has always been consistent on each of his sessions and Golden Child is no different. Here you get a the fire and chill but you also get a trio that sounds stellar through and through. This is not an artist that you have to start at the beginning to understand. Jared Gold is one of the exciting ones that allows you to dive in at whatever point you choose. Let's hope you choose Golden Child as that primer. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Marty Ehrlich: Frog Leg Logic

Marty Ehrlich (sax)
Frog Leg Logic (Clean Feed; 2011)
James Zollar (trumpet)
Hank Roberts (cello)
Michale Sarin (drums)

So I've really only starting getting into Marty Ehrlich work in the last few months but what I have listened to has impressed me beyond belief. His most recent, Frog Leg Logic, with his Rites Quartet is, simply put -- sumptuous. A melting pot of themes, developed by a solid band and a great deal of inventive writing by Ehrlich, makes Frog Leg Logic a joy to experience from start to finish.

Built on post-bop aesthetics, Ehrlich leads this quartet through some fantastic compositions. In addition, the members each rise to the challenge and create some high voltage duel exchanges with their leader. "Frog Leg Logic" opens up with this high energy and never let's go. Zollar and Ehrlich have intense exchanges that fuel this piece with a confidence and boldness that carries throughout the session. Sarin's drumming is rapid-fire but with a rhythmic quality that will have you banging along with the beat.

"Ballade" with its expansive yet reflective mood gives the listener a sweet sense of the blues as seen through the eyes of Ehrlich and Roberts. Hank Roberts' performance on cello is amazing. He plays the instrument with such smoothness and diversity that you almost don't recognize it as a cello until you look at the album credits. Really incredible musicianship. Ehrlich has a few moments throughout this piece where he and the group spin outward into a more free form atmosphere but then quickly return to the blues base of the song and eventually let you fade gently into its closing chords.

"Walk Along The Way" settles into an almost third-stream mood. It's sparse, dense and quiet. Sarin and Roberts add elements and harmonics that echo back and forth in your eardrums. Ehrlich's performance is steady and exploratory. Improvised notes and breaking patterns that are aptly matched by Zollar, making a stellar tandem.

"Solace" showcases the quartet in a funky yet quiet mode. Almost Brazilian at heart, this piece is romantic yet avant garde all in the span of a few short minutes. Ehrlich takes up flute for this one and sounds perfectly at home, providing refreshing perspective and contrast to the previous tracks leading up to this point.

"The Gravediggers Respite" returns the listener to the original themes of the session's opener. Ehrlich and Zollar are rolling with thunder and verve that will have you excited and stunned. Zollar is sublime, rattling off notes like Dizzy Reece or Clifford Brown. Sarin delivers a scorching improvised solo towards the end.

I was blown away by Frog Leg Logic. Fred Ehrlich shows that he may be one of the best kept secrets on both sides of the Atlantic. Frog Leg Logic is a brilliant work with various motifs that I think will be eye opening for many.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Inner Ear: Breathing Steam

Inner Ear (group)
Breathing Steam (1kilogram Records; 2012)
Mikolaj Trzaska (sax)
Tim Daisy (drums)
Per Ake Homlander (tuba)
Steve Swell (trombone)

Made up of members from Ken Vandermark's Resonance Ensemble, Inner Ear takes much of the Chicago sax man's ethics and expands on it for this stellar debut, Breathing Steam. The reduced size of the group (a quartet) allows the themes from Resonance to--as the title suggests--breath. There is a bit more experimentation as well as harmonic resilience throughout this session.

There's no leader here, so each musician gets an opportunity to stretch their chords as only the burst energy that is the opener, "Lonely Consumer." Trzaska and Daisy tear through notes in counterpoint fashion. It's a duel of juxtapositions, with Trzaska screeching into heavens; while Daisy adds staccato patterns all around. It's beautifully laid out. Vandermark would be very happy. "Monster Confession" is dark and loose. The group move in various haunting directions with Homlander's tuba presenting some ominous sounds and then folding into some great improvised work by Daisy and Swell.

"For Our Mothers" has soft avant-blues texture to it. The quartet moves slowly through some dark passages with Trzaska portraying almost a funeral-like tone. Swell and Homlander add a  billowing quality to this offering that quietly fades into the distance just as it began.

Breathing Steam might be just a one-off for these members of the larger Resonance Ensemble but its a rich and organic experience that is many times over worth listening and looking out for. Sometimes the sum is just as good and significant as the whole. Inner Ear is rewarding stuff.