This one may or may not sound pretty boring to you, depending on what you expect. It's pretty unique, as far as I can tell, within jazz because of the improvisation. For the most part, it's not the horns that solo, as is the norm in jazz. Rather, the roles are switched - the rhythm section is the soloing part of the ensemble, and the horns provide the foundation. Also, for the most part, it's really a Tony Williams solo, though Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter get to say a bit.
This has the effect of suspending the motion. The liner notes in the recent remastered edition of Nefertiti note the resemblance to "a series of time-lapsed photographs," which is dead on.
This track also somewhat obscures one of the most amazing qualities of the second quintet - its rhythm section. Because here, their traditional roles are changed, you can't hear the subtlety and grace with which they interact with each other and the rest of the band, when in a normal setting. There are still plenty of hints here, though - and most importantly, Tony Williams' elastic, delicately filigreed drumming. It's said frequently of Williams that he figured that by that point, all the experienced players knew the beat, it was ingrained in their playing - so he stopped playing it, and played pulse instead. Thus freeing him up to be one of jazz's most imaginative drummers.
This review originally appeared in josh blog.