Activate Infinity

Activate Infinity

With 2018’s Never Stop II, this long-lived jazz power trio signaled a major change: Pianist and founding member Ethan Iverson was yielding the bench to Orrin Evans, acclaimed as a leader in his own right. The direct reference to 2010’s Never Stop conveyed a sense of uninterrupted progress, and indeed Never Stop II and its successor, Activate Infinity, have found the spirit and mission of the band intact. Once again the program is fully original, and there’s even a bit of catalog-rummaging with a revisit of drummer Dave King’s “Thrift Store Jewelry” (from Prog) and bassist Reid Anderson’s “Love Is the Answer” (from the very first album, Motel), allowing Evans to put his own stamp on older material. Anderson’s “Avail,” “Slow Reactors,” and “Undersea Reflection” are full of dynamism and a certain romantic-harmony-meets-rock ethos. Evans’ “The Red Door” and “Looking in Your Eyes,” respectively, have an infectious groove and a pristine, flowing, gradually unfolding melodicism. King’s “Dovetail Nicely,” fast and funky with an intricate metrical design, gets at one of the band’s most distinctive qualities, and certainly one of King’s as a drummer: the ability to play heavily intense music at moderate volume, animated by a necessary restraint.

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