It certainly helped Wojciechowski concentrate Backed by a remarkable, tightly knit unit including drummer Dana Hall, bassist Dennis Carroll, and pianist Ryan Cohan, Wojciechowski ranges from the earthy intensity of “Summon the Elders,” a spell- casting modal piece reminiscent of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, to the bottom-up inventions of the title cut to the dancing 3/4 patterns of “Twirl,” on which he shows off his lyrical tenor saxophone sound.
The two covers on Focus reveal Wojciechowski’s compositional gift as well. He remakes Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” with the clave-informed Latin arrangement and reharmonizing touches he showed off at the 1996 Thelonious Monk Competition (he placed third behind Jon Gordon and Jimmy Greene). And showing off his love of Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson, he treats Dave Brubeck’s enduring “In Your Own Sweet Way” to a coiled, melodically expansive alto trio reading.
And then there is “Call of the Kingdom,” which began as an unaccompanied drum introduction by Hall to “Summon the Elders,” but made such a strong compositional statement of its own that the leader assigned it its own track and Hall a songwriting credit. Elvin Jones, among other percussive orchestrators, would be proud.