What happens when you get “too good” at your instrument? Some go straight for free-jazz, jumping into a solo career to create a “big name” that will eventually collaborate with other “big names” in the improvisation world. Free experimentation with other skilled musicians becomes procedural — the task being to converse virtuosically with your instrument in a variety of different formats, honing in on loose concepts or musical goals. Another option might be to eventually attempt a reconciliation of instrumental skill with the greater pantheon of art history, a history that may or may not involve jazz. In this case, the talented player embarks to apply their instrument to other mediums, to create works that abandon the moniker of the virtuoso. Perhaps I’m making a conjecture, but VaVatican’s particular brand of NYC post-instrumentalism demonstrates a group of players who are so damn good at playing their instruments, they’re nearly bored with standard improvisational flaunt. Instead, they’ve more in common with staged performance, with theater, with constructing fragmented anti-narratives through their instruments. They may align more with Beckett than Coltrane. (TMT, by SCVSCV)