Nate Chinen, WBGO

Andy Milne & Dapp Theory, “The Cusp”

It’s often said that music has the power to heal, though the conversation usually stops there, in a vague halo of positivity. After his own bout with prostate cancer, pianist Andy Milne decided to explore the idea further, applying homeopathic principles to his compositional process. The Seasons of Being is the absorbing result: an album of flowing themes designed for individual players, including cellist Christopher Hoffman and trumpeter Ralph Alessi, who both appear on “The Cusp.”

Milne and his working band, Dapp Theory, also feature a good deal of spoken word on the album, collaborating with John Moon and La Tanya Hall. But as “The Cusp” illustrates, there’s just as much expressive potential in the instrumental themes; consider the way that Alessi’s trumpet solo leads the ensemble into a brighter new groove, just after the 4:00 mark. (The drummer in Dapp Theory is Kenny Grohowski, and the bassist is Christopher Tordini.)

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