Joey van Leeuwen, Reflection (Independent)

Reflection” can mean a shimmering surface you can see yourself in, but it can describe the act of looking inside oneself as well, and it’s a dichotomy that free-form jazz drummer Joey van Leeuwen no doubt recognizes as the mission statement of his five-song debut. Assisted by a stellar group featuring two Alexes—the saxophones of Alex Geddes, who holds down the Balcony Music Club on Decatur with his Quartet, and the guitar stylings of Alex D’Onofrio, who has done likewise with Mario Abney & The Abney Effect—he explores the fecund musical fields stretching out between Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane, real hardcore jazz fusion for all the true heads out there.

They’re not quite dwelling in each other’s heads yet, but this makeshift quintet still creates a fascinating natural mirror for your journey into yourself: van Leeuwen subtly (almost too subtly) controls the beat and therefore the mood way down in the depths, Sam Albright’s bass bubbles up around him, Andrew Yanovski’s vibe glissandos catch the rays of the sun shimmering off the top, and the dual Alexes spend most of their time skipping stones across the top to see what sort of ripples they can make. It all works on “Forgiveness” and “Just You And I”—the former feels like a couple’s first fight, the torrid makeup sex, then another fight again, while the latter is a stroll through the park that burbles with nature’s many little contradictions—and while it’s still a little too splashy for van Leeuwen’s first solo dive into the depths of fusion, you’ve got to admire that degree of difficulty.