Personnel: Eric Barber (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Bill Anschell (piano); Byron Vannoy (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: David Lange.
Recording information: David Lange Studios, Edgewood, WA (11/01/2009-11/02/2009).
The Ziggurat Quartet consists of saxophonist Eric Barber, pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Doug Miller, and drummer Byron Vannoy, with all of the music consisting of challenging originals. Barber's robust tenor is featured in his tense "Sezimora." His "Oregonian Monkey Chant" may at first seem like a repetitious, slow-to-develop number, though a different perspective on its intricacies can be obtained by listening to it on headphones. Anschell's "Calculated Gestures" features Barber's exotic soprano over a rhythm that alternates between bright and ominous moods. The pianist's "10 to 5" opens in a modern boogie-woogie style, though it quickly evolves into a perky blues that is in no way old-fashioned, showcasing Barber's hip tenor. Miller also contributed several pieces, including the exotic calypso "Scenic Overlook" and the infectious Afro-Cuban-flavored "Zigtuno," though both works take these familiar styles down unexpected paths. The diversity of the Ziggurat Quartet's approach to jazz is a breath of fresh air. ~ Ken Dryden