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  • Jonathan Widran

JACK MOUSE GROUP, Intimate Adversary

Before emerging as a bandleader in his own right in recent years, exploring traditional compositional forms as well as free improvisations, veteran drummer Jack Mouse established himself as a sideman with literally hundreds of jazz greats. Along the way, he discovered a quote from Spanish cellist Palo Cassals that perfectly captured the complex relationship a musician has to his or her instrument: Intimate Adversary.

An expansive, avant-garde tinged soulful jazz ballad of that title is the first part of a suite (that concludes with the bright, percussive twist “Adamant Inversary”) that is the centerpiece of a mostly lighthearted set of swinging and contemplative originals. Through breakneck stylistic and rhythmically challenging twists and turns along the way, Mouse and longtime cohorts Scott Robinson (tenor sax), Art Davis (trumpet) John McLean (guitar) and Bob Brown (bass) explore everything from blues and gospel to traditional post-bop and free form jazz.

It’s a stylistic free for all steeped in the joyful jazzy schizophrenia that results when the greatest of the genre’s musicians develop intimate relationships with their axes – and each other!

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