Back to jazz - a spirited free-thinker and committed nonconformist, saxophonist-composer Shawn Maxwell is clearly courting another kind of muse. "Jackie McLean and Cannonball Adderley are two of my heroes, and I guess you probably wouldn't even think of it listening to me play. But I've transcribed them and been influenced hugely by them. I love Cannonball. But I'm not gonna be Cannonball." By relying heavily on the sound of Fender Rhodes electric piano and his own penchant for mixing memorable melodies with angularity and odd meters, Maxwell has come up with something different indeed on Millstream, his ninth album as a leader. With that signature '70s sound of Rhodes underscoring the proceedings, Maxwell and his Chicago cohorts (keyboardist Collin Clauson, bassist Jeremiah Hunt, and drummer Phil Beale) deal in long forms that avoid tired head-solo-solo-head conventions. "I'll often write a line without following the rules of ii-v-i and the logic of 'this leads to that. When I'm composing I'll think, 'How can I make this work when maybe it shouldn't work that way?' I want it to stand out enough but not so it just sounds like someone's throwing a pile of forks at a wall or something like that." Personnel: Shawn Maxwell - alto & soprano saxophones; Collin Clauson - Rhodes, piano, Wurlitzer; Jeremiah Hunt - bass; Phil Beale - drums; Chad McCullough - flugelhorn, trumpet. Liner notes by Bill Milkowski, a regular contributor to Downbeat, Absolute Sound, and Jazziz. He is also the author of JACO: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius.