Herculaneum's "Olives and Orchids"
Ryan and McDonnell get the most from their four-horn front line, creating rich voicings and contrapuntal lines that recall vintage Andrew Hill as well as the aforementioned Mingus and Sun Ra outfits. "Temporary Orca" opens with dense chords, then the brasses play the melody against a unison ostinato by the saxes. "Puerto Jimenez" overlays shifting time signatures with a dirge-like melody in the manner of Ornette's "Lonely Woman." On "Mad Anthony," the horn polyphony and Afro-Cuban drums behind the trumpet solo recall a '50s Sun Ra side. "Over Easy" concludes the program on a gentle, ruminative note, with Ryan on vibes, tenorman Nate Lepine on flute, and guitarist John Beard sitting in.
I was resisting the urge to call this "a herculean effort." Oops.