Influences by contemporary classical composers within progressive-jazz frameworks do not always yield fruitful results, but New York City-based guitarist Travis Reuter goes against the grain on the exhilarating Rotational Templates. An impressionable young composer and guitarist, Reuter divulges a conspicuous approach to hybrid genres as if it were meant to be.The band was up for the occasion and generates sympathetic support amid a democratic mindset. These pieces convey a pulsating set of odd-metered rhythmic structures, abetted by linear modalities and underscored with the element of surprise. Moreover, Reuter is a first-rate soloist and often rockets to the stratosphere with animated and scorching lines.
The quartet pursues atmospheric treatments atop staggered, but significantly coherent cadences via knotty unison choruses and unorthodox phrasings. On “Vacancy,” tenor saxophonist Jeremy Viner’s flickering notes contrast Fender Rhodes performer Bobby Avey’s capacious patterns. Reuter ups the ante with speedy, distortion-laced licks as the band segues into reverse-engineering mode, streaming with tons of impact.
Reuter’s compositions feature elongated theme-building exercises atop dissecting undercurrents. During these sequences, drummer Jason Nazary rattles, shuffles, and provokes his band mates. Reuter and Avey are also colorists, injecting razor-sharp voicings and tension-building movements in choice spots. Countered by unanticipated stops and starts, the music also spawns a fractured sense of buoyancy.
Rotational Templates looms as a noteworthy entry into the modern era jazz chronicles. Reuter’s musical world is a place of intrigue that not only stimulates the psyche, but also delivers a high form of entertainment along the way—a sterling effort that should not go unnoticed.