Jonathan Townes

Glenn Astarita January 01, 2002

This two-CD set features electric six-string bassist Neal Fountain and other New York City-based musicians for a divergent production, consisting of dark, ambient soundscapes; funk-based grooves; and free-flowing exchanges. On the opener, “Dark,” electric guitarist Jonathan Townes pursues airy dreamscapes atop drummer Andy Sanesi’s rolling tom patterns. Yet, the quintet often expounds upon impromptu notions in concert with its effective utilization of space and intuitive call-and-response type escapades. During certain instances, the musicians coalesce in sequential fashion, amid flirtations with world music and an assortment of understated themes that provide frameworks for expansion. The band is equally capable of venturing into the red zone, especially on the piece titled “Vapor Trailor,” which seems like a nod to jazz guitarist John Scofield’s well-known, funk/groove style digressions. The artists offer a pleasant track mix as they also render briskly constructed swing vamps and climactically formulated opuses. Here, the band forsakes clutter and convolution while opting for a spacious, open-ended approach.