Not often does one hear a 12-piece group without bass and drums. But it happened at Galapagos (Jun. 8th), where the Pulse composers' federation performed its second installment of “The Eloquent Light: Music Inspired by Photography”. Trumpeter John McNeil and guitarist Pete McCann were the guest soloists, augmenting an ensemble of strings, reeds, low brass, keyboard (Gary Versace) and vibraphone/percussion (Tom Beckham). Pulse's constituent members took to the stage one by one to conduct their own works, each with a respective photograph displayed on an overhead screen. Heedless of genre distinctions, the pieces combined the rigorous craft of ‘new music’ with the improvised flow of jazz and even the sonic explosiveness of rock. In order, the rundown: Darcy James Argue’s "Milk", Jamie Begian’s "A Simple…", Joseph C Phillips Jr's "Race", Joshua Shneider’s "Sending and Receiving", John McNeil’s "Riot", Yumiko Sunami’s "Wise Women" and JC Sanford’s "An Attempt at Serenity". These were concise but well-developed statements, full of harmonic and rhythmic tension, beautifully complemented by the visual images. McNeil and McCann contributed to the richness of the ensemble passages, but they also sailed over, under and through, even playing as a duo at times. Pulse brought "The Eloquent Light" to St. Peter’s Church three days later. Watch for ongoing developments at pulsecomposers.typepad.com.