Michael Moore - alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Alex Maguire - piano
Mark Helias - bass
Han Bennink - drums
A follow up of the Clusone Trio - a quartet which can play many ways. This is light, heavy, easy and difficult music.
"White Widow splendidly showcases Moore's charms. With a mix of original compositions, free improvisation and a single standard (Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy"), the quartet designs an eminently appealing disc. Of course, these men's musical lives have intersected for years. English pianist Alex Maguire, who recently joined Moore in duo (Mount Olympus), is a kinsman: Like Moore, he's a purveyor of grace, even in the rough. American Mark Helias fills his bass lines with strength and intelligence-a rich, engaging sound that sets off Moore and Maguire's flights. Dutch percussionist Bennink, however, is remarkably restrained here. Still, he is smart and sharp and demonstrates an uncanny and delightful sense of swing, whether he's tied-up or thrown into the mosh pit. The quartet itself swings softly or in convulsions, dynamics breathe and shift easily. In a number of cases-Moore's "Manuel's Party" and "Coyote", as well as in parts of Maguire's "Parma Suite"- there are superior melodies and elegant improvisations stirred into a fetching brew. "Peabody", a bouncing, wisp of a line bubbles with energy. As Moore's alto winds through a taut, brisk accompaniment, the band pick up steam before closing with Helias soloing over a severe piano-saxophone coda. It's another instance of White Widow's attractions, where a muscular sense of motion feeds moment of genuine lyrical beauty."
Greg Buium, Downbeat, November 2001
"The music that constitutes White Widow appeals on another level. On paper, it has the advantage of featuring the hard line rhythm section of Alex Maguire (piano), Mark Helias (bass), and Han Bennink (drums). These musicians give a smooth elasticity when the music transitions from mid-century American popular music ("I Loves You Porgy") to full group improvisation. Maguire challenges all of the numbers with a boppish technique interlaced with fiery dissonant patterns. He is best in the selections written by the leader - "White Widow" in particular, where the entire ensemble treats the music as if they have life-threatening stock in its delivery. The record bends and curves through an assortment of histrionic themes, and Moore's compositions are a unique blend of European music and progressive improvisation. Bennink is the ideal choice for the percussion chair - he is both a masterful, aggressive colorist and a humble student of jazz systems (who swings like mad when called upon to do so). From the opening notes of "Moffat," White Widow is a powerful, moving musical experience that is restless in its free spirit and soulful in its unassuming conviction."
"" - Downbeat
"" - Jazzman