After scanning the black and white graphics of the cover art‚ perusing the suggestive song titles‚ then hearing its haunting sounds‚ you have to wonder if Bobby Previte has already written a screenplay for which this noir music will serve as the soundtrack.
Set The Alarm for Monday is a vividly cinematic suite of songs‚ its shadowy atmosphere reminiscent of a Raymond Chandler novel. The deep bass of Brad Jones and warmly resonant vibes from Bill Ware on the title track introduce the sound of Bobby's new Bump Band‚ only to give way to more bracing textures when trumpeter Steve Bernstein enters on the aptly titled "I'd Advise You Not to Miss Your Train."
Meanwhile‚ Previte is nothing if not unobtrusive. The percussion of Jim Pugliese takes precedence over the drumming‚ so much so that one of the real mysteries at work on this album is how the bandleader manages to set such an authoritative tone yet never once call attention to himself: in contrast to his myriad other activities (ranging from chamber music to 'doom jazz' plus a variety of live gigs around NYC)‚ his stabilizing role here is the antithesis of busy.
As the album proceeds‚ the alternating musical dynamic quickens (as does the pulse of the listener)‚ generating a suspense bolstered by the skittering saxwork of Ellery Eskelin on "She Has Information." Cryptic song titles like that and "Were You Followed?" beg the question of whether Bobby Previte saw Chinatown or LA Confidential prior to composing this music. As the interaction becomes more taut with "I'm On to Her‚" and the main soloists trade off more frequently‚ the tension level grows (albeit exquisitely)‚ in combination with the relative brevity of the tracks.
Running times of individual cuts extend toward the end of Set The Alarm for Monday‚ reaching close to nine minutes by the conclusion of "Wake Up Andréa We're Pulling In." But just as the passage of time usually becomes relative within similarly intense experiences‚ that cut‚ like it's predecessors comparable in length ("There Was Something in My Drink" at 6:09 and "You're In Over Your Head" at 5:46)‚ seems to come and go with the blink of an eye. Or more appropriately‚ a glance at the album liner.