Pete Robbins’ Transatlantic Quartet: album review

Pete Robbins’ Transatlantic Quartet
Live in Basel

There’s nothing worse than listening to a group of musicians with evident talent who choose to play songs without any weight, significance, or urgency. Sadly, such is the case of this live record from Pete Robbins’ Transatlantic Quartet. The arrangements are mostly pedestrian, barely holding one’s interest past first listen; their wandering and plodding solos becoming a nuisance with repeated plays. Only the late album cut “Hoi Polloi” pays dividends with multiple listens. It’s a take, albeit a cleaner one, on the sounds explored by On the Corner-era Miles, all frenetic percussion and jutting, angular guitar. Disc opener “Eliotsong” sounds as though if you were sitting at a table five feet away from the stage, perhaps it would earn your attention. Not on the record. Robbins could do well by dirtying it up a bit, his chosen alto sax is fluid and effortless, just not all that interesting. — Damien McPherson

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