Guitarist Tim Stine has been a creative presence on the Chicago music scene for well over a decade now. Originally from North Dakota, he’s released recordings with his quartet and trio, and has played as a sideman with many of the city’s most interesting musicians. Fresh Demons is the second album from his trio with double bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly; recorded in January 2018, it follows their self-titled debut of 2016.
Stine composed the album’s eight tracks and plays acoustic guitar on all of them. That makes for a slightly unusual sound for a guitar-double bass-drums trio, but it is a very effective one and perfectly suited to the asymmetrical, chromatic substance typical of Stine’s thematically structured compositions. Stine is a fine guitarist; during written and improvised passages he plays fluent, long lines that push against the naturally staccato sound of the acoustic guitar. Hatwich’s pizzicato double bass, another predominantly staccato voice, both doubles and counterpoints Stine’s melodies and provides active support to his improvisations. No less important to the well-integrated group sound is Rosaly’s drumming—it’s fluid and propulsive, and makes Stine’s rhythmically complex compositions swing.