On Ghosts, trumpeter Craig Pedersen leads his quartet through 18 minutes of composed avant-jazz. Also featuring Linsey Wellman on sax, Joel Kerr on bass, and Eric Thibodeau on drums, the five tracks of this release are dense with ideas and texture. An immediate comparison can be made to Albert Ayler, though Pedersen captures more of Ayler’s spirit than sound.
The group alternates between discordant, horn-driven pieces and more introspective, antebellum efforts. But even on the quieter pieces, there is a subtle tension boiling beneath the surface that occasionally explodes into a free blow-out. With none of the tracks reaching five minutes, Pedersen and company force themselves to make a statement then walk away. Ghosts is a compelling statement, both haunting an energetic. Let’s hope that this quartet returns for more.