Chicago trio Hearts and Minds, led by bass clarinetist Jason Stein, just released its new record “Electroradiance.” One can’t hear the warm and robust sound of the bass clarinet without thinking of adventurous multi-reed player and composer Eric Dolphy. Stein summons the bold spirit of Dolphy (who played with Mingus and Coltrane), and Hearts and Minds also evokes the visionary music of Sun Ra, who was from Chicago by way of Alabama and Saturn.
This is music that lurches and howls, but it’s not all abrasive stabs. There’s plenty of fluid grace in the blurry swirl of the flow. The music also draws on the fun and frenetic music of cartoon-soundtrack composer Raymond Scott.
Stein is joined by synth-keyboardist Paul Giallorenzo and drummer Chad Taylor.
The new record’s opening track, “Back and Forth,” demonstrates the trio’s ability to slice and dice phrasing, running a line through different stresses and rhythmic forms. The music simmers and boils, but it doesn’t stay on high-burn mode; Stein and crew can cut the heat in half for dramatic shifts in intensity. Hearts and Minds might take things into the realms of outer space periodically, but they maintain an earthy sense of humor and an approachable scale.
Jason Stein’s Hearts and Minds performs at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St., New Haven, on Friday, Oct. 12. The trio will play two sets: at 8:30 p.m. ($20) and 10 p.m. ($15) 203-785-0468 or firehouse12.com.