Microscopic Septet - Lobster Leaps In
"Amidst the natty suits and serious prouncements of the 1980s jazz scene, the Microscopic Septet's arrow-through-the-head celebration of the music's history was sorely out of place–unfortunate for the financial prospects of the Micros and the joyless approach taken by too many of their peers. Cuneiform's two-volume , four-disc retrospective of the Micro's too-meager output was perhaps the most welcome resurrection of the last few years, only eclipsed now by the return of the flesh-and-blood band itself. Lobster Leaps In picks up where the septet left off 20 years ago, and if the musical climate seems more hospitable these days, the somewhat grayer-haired Micros aren't about to let that get in the way of them playing the scrappy underdogs, blithely amusing themselves with a respectful tongue out at their peers....The Micros skip merrily through the century, finding an avant-garde side street branching off from a trad-jazz Main Street.... As always with the Micros, it's gloriously, delightfully and inappropriately right. Welcome back." (four stars) – Downbeat
Originally active from 1980-1992, the "Micros" started with a basic reeds-and-rhythm texture that was sonically similar to the sound of the Swing Era, but used influences from the entire continuum of jazz. The result was a brilliant blend of fresh-sounding ideas, compositions, arrangements and inspired soloing. The Micros were one of the most celebrated of the many cutting-edge units associated with experimental music's best-known venue, the Knitting Factory, during the peak years of the "Downtown" music movement in the late '80s and early '90s. In 2006, Cuneiform reissued their four albums as two double CD sets, which gained stupendous praise, attention and sales and the Micros reunited to play a few shows to celebrate their release and had such a good fun that they decided to make their reunion ‘an occasional regular thing’. So, the Microscopic Septet are back with their first album in 20 years! Their sound is the sound of jazz in America; ALL of it, from Ayler to Zorn, bebop to Basie, Ellington to Thelonious. The Microscopic Septet distill the essence of jazz into a sound that swings – a music that is intelligent, sometimes humorous, and always good fun. They aren’t afraid to have some fun with the great jazz tradition while also paying homage to it. The band came back from a well-received, two week European tour and went right into the studio to record "Lobster Leaps In" and they were in terrific form; despite the long lay-off, I think that Lobster Leaps In is their best album yet! This is a charming album filled with inventiveness and good-humored, swinging fun.
“...a wildly idiosyncratic, devastatingly accomplished ensemble.”-Wall Street Journal
"...the saxophone-heavy Microscopic Septet drew on a cache of sophisticated improvisers and two of the era's most sophicated and stylistically slippery jazz composers and players – the pianist Joel Forrester and the saxophonist Phillip Johnston. This reunion promises equal parts zaniness and braininess..." – The New Yorker