Prior to the 2010 release of The Rub and Spare Change, bassist/composer Michael Formanek seemed to have given up on being a leader. While he’d been busy working with everyone from Uri Caine to Dave Burrell to Elvis Costello, more than a decade had passed since the last release under Formanek’s own name. This made it all the more remarkable that The Rub was such a masterful, assured set, although to anyone who’d been paying attention it should have come as little surprise that Formanek’s chosen quartet would gel into such a cohesive, fluid unit. The bassist had played with saxophonist Tim Berne for years in various settings, most notably the ground-breaking quartet Bloodcount, and that family tree extended in various interwining branches to pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Gerald Cleaver as well. Fortunately Formanek hasn’t returned to leadership hibernation, reconvening the same quartet for this year’s equally compelling follow-up, Small Places.
Sun., Oct. 7, 8 p.m., $15, Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th St., arsnovaworkshop.com.