New York trumpeter Weiss leads a quintet with JD Allen on tenor, Nir Felder on guitar, Luques Curtis on bass and Jamire Williams on drums.
The material is all from the late 1960s, and includes Herbie Hancock’s I Have A Dream, Tony Williams’ Black Comedy, a couple of Andrew Hills and two Charles Moores.
The angle is to get back to that kind of searching, explorative playing that was the hallmark of the late ’60s, but to do it in a modern idiom. Weiss is a natural for this way of approaching the edges of what has become the mainstream with a sense of adventure. After all, he has played with some of the crucial musicians from those times – Bobby Hutcherson, Bily Hart, James Moody among them.
Venture Inward shows a band of players comfortable in each other’s company and able to explore their music assured of cohesive support. Guitarist Felder is particularly strong on the title track, while the most searching are the long work-outs Number 4 and I Have A Dream. I find Weiss’s improvisation on the latter takes too many turns up and down very similar scales, but he is powerful and original elsewhere on the album. Allen has some fun on the former.
It might not be an outstanding album in the end, but it’s a fulfilling one, and certainly achieves its central aim. Well recorded.