It's Magnificent, but it isn't war is a collaboration featuring the following:
Paul Flaherty (Sax) Chris Corsano (Drums) Matt Heyner (Bass) Greg Kelley (Trumpet)
It's possible if you weren't already aware of these four superb musicians background, that you may have heard some of their other material. For example, Flaherty and Corsano played on (amongst many other things) A Rock in the Snow, Matt Heyner is a member of the No-Neck Blues Band, (Qvaris) and Greg Kelley has prduced a number of solo outings (though he's played alongside Corsano and Flaherty before).
All these artists bring something different to bear on this record (and the equally superb follow-up Simitu). Corsano a drumming style indebted to Rashied Ali era Coltrane recordings yet with a good base in rock drumming, Flaherty a muscular and yet soulful saxophone (actually, I always think that all fire music has at its heart a passion which can only be described as soulful), Kelley is Don Cherryish (though I'm less familiar with him overall) and Matt Heyner's group work with NNCK is thoroughly avant-rock.
It's possible that in lesser hands this album could have become, therefore, a disappointing and pointless mess. However, the fact that it doesn't only increases its greatness for me. Corsano's powerful and complex (yet never tedious drumming) combines with the forcefulness of Flaherty's sax and Greg Kelley adds to this mix with his trumpet. Matt Heyner doesn't actually stray too far from his roots on this, I think. His playing doesn't have the level of force on this record that the other 3 musicians produce, but he's not swamped. Instead he produces some wonderful drones with his bass which help seperate this record from the usual underground jazz records.
A fantastic and highly recommended album. Great for fans of underground jazz, equally, if you are a fan of avant-rock and have been looking for an in to the free jazz scene (and there are many crossovers, I think, give this a try. Wonderful stuff.