One does not normally look to a drummer-led jazz session for innovative compositions, but Whit Dickey (best-known for his work with David S. Ware) demonstrates a remarkable writing talent on his first record as a leader, Transonic. The best tunes on the record, like "Planet One," "Volleys," and "Skyhook," feature concise, Thelonius Monk-like hooks articulated in a delightfully scrambling fashion by the trio of Dickey on drums, Rob Brown on alto saxophone and flute, and Chris Lightcap on bass. Dickey's playing is quite complex and often unsettling, full of bursting tom-tom excursions and jagged ride-cymbal patterns; he swings, but in a stuttering, swirling fashion. The drummer's sense of time often seems intentionally precarious. Rob Brown's Ornette Coleman-esque squeals scamper over the leader's rocky patterns. The altoist is especially effective on the quiet "Penumbra," where his yearning phrases seem completely inevitable. Dickey's trio has a unique sound -- think Coleman's "Golden Circle" Trio with a much freer sense of time -- that should be experienced by any fan of creative jazz. Transonic is the place to begin, as it features memorable writing, inspired performances, and a lush recording quality.