Reedist Josh Sinton led a profound performance of his band Ideal Bread at La Sala last Thursday night with band mates Tomas Fujiwara (drums) and Adam Hopkins (bass). The band was originally formed to play and reinterpret songs by the late soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (with whom Sinton studied), and Sinton continues to dig for new, innovative, and exciting material from within the massive Lacy corpus. The band’s current project focuses on Lacy compositions from the period 1972-78, some of the earliest pieces that the latter wrote. Sinton has specifically selected 26 pieces from the period that he intends to record with the band later this year, a few of which they featured in the performance at La Sala.
Trumpeter Kirk Knuffke, who normally rounds out the quartet, was absent, but the band did well to augment other aspects of its sound to great effect throughout the hour-long concert. They opened with three consecutive pieces: “The Wane”, “Cryptosphere”, and “Torment”, in which they experimented with space, rhythm, and bursts of emphatic expression. The band then continued with “Three Pieces from Dao” including “Existence”, “The Way”, and “Life on the Way.” This may be the most energized performance by Ideal Bread to date, featuring Sinton’s gripping baritone saxophone lines intermixed with occasional vocalizations and even shouts. Behind Sinton, Fujiwara and Hopkins dueled away with powerful, ecstatic rhythms and beats. There was no timidity in these approaches to Lacy and no attempt at merely replicating a sound. These were profound statements of a new generation inspired by a great master, delving into the vast depths of sound: abstract, yet grounded with a constant churning, inventive restlessness.