Los Angeles-based pianist David Witham may not be a famous jazz performer, but he’s worked with top drawer artists such as George Benson, Chick Corea and Michael Brecker, and Spinning the Circle proves Witham is well-versed in a variety of improvisational idioms. The roster of friends who pepper this release give an idea of the cross-fertilization going on, including avant-guitarist Nels Cline, pedal and lap steel player Greg Leisz and others who supply horns, percussion and electronics.

The most interesting situations occur when the ensemble throws the fake books away and delves deeply into improvisation. Minimally abstract “Momentuum,” perhaps deliberately misspelled to indicate the song’s skewed perspective, is centered by Witham’s melodic accordion.

Acid jazz influences the beat driven “The Neon,” although this and a few other tunes sometimes veer too closely to smooth jazz territory. The highlight is the epic “Afrobeat,” where Cline and the rest of the group relentlessly build to a concentrated apex of acoustics and electronics.

Grade: B

Spinning the Circle is currently available.