It becomes clearer the longer you listen to Organic that the title of this CD indicates the playing style that the Acoustic Jazz Quartet allows to grow in the middle of its straight-ahead jazz sounds.

Most of the numbers begin simply—almost conventionally—with the percussion and bass coming in light and crisp. Drummer Dean Koba blithely keeps his strokes quick and precise, filling out the ensemble with a skittering, crystalline backdrop. Bassist Zac Matthews (’92 Music) is spry, placing most of his notes on top of the beat, which propels the music even as it gives everyone room. And when he takes the lead, as he does on “Jumpin’ Out,” one of Organic’s 10 substantial tracks, Matthews’s flurries of notes merge seamlessly with Koba’s drumming, making the whole thing sound like carefully controlled free jazz.

David Sills lets his saxophone provide most of the album’s melodic drive, even when he blurs his melodies into long, unending lines. Jamie Findlay’s guitar playing wanders capriciously over the entire range of his instruments, punctuated with acid-bright chords. On “Song of the Century,” he plucks fistfuls of notes, but lays wisely back on the following number, “Darkness Upon the Earth,” allowing his graceful melodies to unfurl from the song’s misty texture.

The mood of Organic seems to be one of constant, relaxed play back and forth between old-school-style bop and broader, more abstract, and splashy sounds. By laying down a firm, almost square ground, each soloist is given room in which to play, stepping into the spaces between the beats and making room for the individual musical lines to take root and blossom.

Acoustic Jazz Quartet
Origin Records
2002