Best of Jazz Editors’ Picks Review

REVIEW: Alchemy Sound Project – Adventures in Time and Space

[Photograph is courtesy of]

Artist: Alchemy Sound Project

Album: Adventures in Time and Space

© Copyright 2018 – Alchemy Sound Project
Label – Artists Recording Collective (ARC)

Reviewed By Scott Yanow
Adventures in
Time and Space

Jazz Artistry Now – The members of the Alchemy Sound Project first teamed up during a seminar held by the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute. The impressive unit debuted with their CD Further Explorations which featured two compositions apiece from the group’s main members: trumpeter Samantha Boshnack, tenor-saxophonist Erica Lindsay, Salim Washington (tenor, flute and bass clarinet), pianist Sumi Tonooka, and bassist David Arend. On that recording, trombonist Willem de Koch and drummer Max Wood completed the septet.

For Adventures in Time and Space, the same group with trombonist Michael Spearman and drummer Johnathan Blake perform one song apiece by each of the musicians other than Blake. The works are never just chord changes for the artists to jam over.

In ways the pieces, which blend together composition, arranged sections and improvisation seamlessly, are a little reminiscent of the work of Maria Schneider.

The picturesque music evolves as it progresses, there are lots of warm tone colors, and the results are both challenging to the musicians and accessible to listeners while never being predictable.

The musicianship is top-of-the-line yet the music is generally controlled and cool.

Adventures in Time and Space” begins the set with the bass clarinet and the brass stating a somber theme.

Ms. Tonooka takes a high-quality modal solo that hints at McCoy Tyner, the piece cooks during Mr. Washington’s tenor solo, and there are some infectious drum breaks.

[Photograph is courtesy of]

Ankh” has close interplay between flute and trumpet, excellent solos, and a particularly memorable bowed bass spot.

Ms. Tonooka and bassist, Mr. Arend, play off of each other on “Song Of The Whistle Wing,” a piece with the feel of a desert caravan.

Odysseus Leaves Circe” is a mournful ballad with a fine trumpet lead and a stretch where bass clarinetist, Mr. Washington and bassist, Mr. Arend, are featured in a duet.

Transition Waltz” builds up on the ballad mood, taking listeners to some unexpected places with inventive statements from Ms. Lindsay’s tenor and Mr. Washington’s flute.

The intriguing set concludes with “Jeff’s Joy,” which builds from a bass pattern to colorful ensembles.

In reality, the music of Alchemy Sound Project is much better heard than described since a great deal takes place in a subtle, tasteful, and thoughtful manner. The music, which is never obvious, is easy to enjoy and recommended.

Track Order

  1. Adventures in Time and Space (Lindsay)
  2. Ankh (Arend)
  3. Song of the Whistle Wing (Boshnack)
  4. Odysseus Leaves Circe (Washington)
  5. Transition Waltz [for Matt] (Tonooka)
  6. Jeff’s Joy (Lindsay)


Samantha Boshnack – trumpet, flugelhorn
Erica Lindsay – tenor
Salim Washington – tenor, alto flute, bass clarinet
Michael Spearman – trombone
Sumi Tonooka – piano
David Arend – bass
Johnathan Blake – drums, percussion

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Mr. Yanow

The Jazz Artistry Now review of Adventures in Time and Space was written by Scott Yanow.

Mr. Yanow has written 11 books on jazz, over 800 liner notes, and more than 20,000 recording reviews through the years.

His writing has graced virtually all of the top jazz magazines and he is happy to be a new contributor to Jazz Artistry Now.