Dustin Laurenzi is a busy man with a list of musical projects that would make the average artist cower in intimidation. But unlike many overachievers who tend to spread their musical talents too thin, virtually everything the Chicago-based tenor saxophonist takes on is a thrilling journey. His work in the inventive jazz trio Twin Talk has been critically lauded. He assembled an octet (under the moniker Snaketime) to interpret the works of cult musician Moondog. Additionally, he's performed with Bon Iver, Matt Ulery's Loom/Large, the Quentin Coaxum Quintet, and Katie Ernst's Little Words. Now, with A Time and a Place, Laurenzi has reassembled Natural Language, an exhilarating quartet featuring guitarist Jeff Swanson, bassist Mike Harmon and drummer Charles Rumback.
With this small but mighty arsenal of musicians, A Time and a Place – the long-awaited follow-up to Laurenzi's self-titled 2016 Natural Language album – manages to tuck comfortably into a handful of slightly unhinged post-bop and free jazz numbers. That allows the musicians to lock into solid melodies and also take on refreshing, inspired soloing. Everything begins gently and almost tentatively with "Mantra", as an ostinato guitar-bass pattern sets the scene, and Laurenzi eventually solos wildly over it, and Rumback's drumming breathlessly keeps up.