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Worth the effort

Eyes in the Back of My Head
Eyes in the Back of My Head
By Cosmologic

Cuneiform Records: 2008

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This review first appeared in the August 28, 2008 issue of the North County Times.

Possessed of an adventurousness to make Yoko Ono look staid and set in her ways by comparison, the San Diego experimental jazz combo Cosmologic has released another CD to mark a decade together. And after 10 years together, the quartet – Jason Robinson on tenor sax, Michael Dessen on trombone, Scott Walton on bass and Nathan Hubbard on drums – are able to improvise together, at the same time.

Ensemble improvisation can make for some pretty busy listening, and those who aren't into jazz or experimental music might be tempted to dismiss much of the music here as noise.

But for all the out-there blowing, the band can also rein it in on a track like Hubbard's "Face in the Crowd," which is clearly structured and glows from the members' gorgeous playing. And "Theme for Darfur" (written by Robinson) has a post-swing, '60s big band sound.

Cosmologic doesn't play around the county too often, despite being based in San Diego. Which is too bad, because the sounds on this disc are worth every bit of the effort needed to listen to them.