Tim Stine Credit: courtesy the artist

Over the last couple of years one of my favorite working bands has been a knotty trio led by guitarist Tim Stine, with bassist Anton Hatwich and either Frank Rosaly or Adam Vida on drums. Both rhythm sections bring a deliciously teetering and coolly swinging energy to Stine’s improvisations, which recall the early work of Joe Morris and the splintery spontaneity of Derek Bailey. Stine doesn’t appreciably change his style and tone in his quartet, but the tunes he performs with alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, bassist Matt Ulery, and drummer Quin Kirchner do demonstrate the elasticity of his compositional vision. This combo cleaves more tightly to postbop than the trio, which produces a fractured feel compared to the smoothness of the quartet’s rhythm—plus Mazzarella, a player in the tradition of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman can’t help but bring out an especially jazzy vibe. Still, Stine distinguishes himself with comping that delivers sonic shards rather than clean chordal voicings, and as expected, his solos embrace a wonderfully off-kilter gait flush with gnarled phrases and accelerating tangles of notes.   v