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by Doug Ramsey, Rifftides

Plunge, Dancing On Thin Ice (Immersion) - Plunge is among the best post-Katrina jazz developments in New Orleans music. In the city's tradition of absorbing, assimilating and combining disparate elements, this unorthodox trio is indeed on thin ice at times, without losing sight of the shore of New Orleans convention. Trombonist Mark McGrain, saxophonist Tim Green and bassist James Singleton are out there with chancy harmonies, elastic time and forays into electronics, but they are also inside the blues and slow-drag feelings of their city. They generate moments reminiscent of music as various as the Jimmy Giuffre trio's folksiness, 1960s free experimentalism, and that long march to the cemetery uptown or out by the lake. This is a lot of music from three people. The deep tones of Singleton's bass are as evocative in Plunge as in Astral Project, the group with which he is most closely associated. He is centered, bold and eager for adventure, as he was when I first heard him in a New Orleans jam session more than thirty years ago. In McGrain and Green, Singleton has kindred spirits.



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