Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant is back for their second album, although with a completely different lineup (besides Dunn, of course). Adam Levy and Kenny Wollesen are gone, replaced by Mary Halvorson on guitar and Ches Smith on drums. The music they play is not so much a fusion of styles as it is a collision of styles. Almost straight-ahead jazz noodling gives way to hardcore blasts and crunching power chords, then completely devolves into Derek Bailey territory, but the band is always together. You can tell that some of it is quite composed, and that other sections are most likely entirely improvised.
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The selections on this uncommonly strong CD (a collaboration featuring keyboardist Patrice Rushen, saxophonist Ernie Watts, bassist Alphonso Johnson and drummer Ndugu Chancler) alternate between soulful jazz, inventive R&B, a bit of funk and ballads. Watts is in top form, and Rushen (who recalls Chick Corea on "Tango" and Herbie Hancock in other spots) shows that she can play with creativity. The set is a pleasant surprise and is recommended to listeners who enjoy R&B-oriented jazz.