8 Bold Souls - Ant Farm (1994), 4/10

A much more tame release than their self titled and focuses more on band dynamics than free jazz. Feels much more like a traditional big band release than a modern creative production in the context of their discography and compared to other AACM recordings. Unfortunately in this instance less daring equates to less interesting for 8 Bold Souls. There is still plenty to enjoy, however, especially if you are a fan of their work outside of their debut. The composition is still on point, the individual performances are just not as energetic and don't appear as passionate in key moments. The improvisation, while impressive, feels more constrained than before, mostly because of the arrangement style and choices in textures such as the prominent baritone sax in "A Little Encouragement". Griffin shines on trumpet as does Aaron Dodd on tuba. The later half is also a bit too sparse in comparison and sputters out in impact apart from sections of "The Big Dig" and its appropriate theme, feeling like it harps too much on one motif of sound exploration rather than remaining an entertaining affair as their debut was able to accomplish.