Take Five is a jazz column by Glide contributor Doug Collette, who will be taking snap-shot reviews of recent jazz albums
Stanton Moore/Conversations (The Royal Potato Family): In contrast to his groove driven leadership of Galactic as well as his own trios and funk oriented collaborations, this album is an acoustic piano trio studio set deriving from over a year’s worth of live gigs in which the threesome, including pianist David Torkanowsky and bassist James Singleton worked up a repertoire based on the musicians’ shared connection with prominent figures of New Orleans. The playing here is fleet and deeply felt all around, perhaps slightly more so for the scholarly leader, and the end result a fully-formed piece of work based on seemingly effortless give and take that will no doubt sound like as much of a breath of fresh air to listeners as it must have felt for the musicians themselves.
Joshua Redman/Trios Live (Nonesuch): Since his return to traditional acoustic jazz from the more accessible rhythm-oriented Elastic Band, saxophonist Joshua Redman has pursued his path with persistence and vigor, two adjectives that apply to this collection of concert recordings in a stripped down format. Matt Penman and Reuben Rogers share bass duties while Gregory Hutchinson remains stalwart on drums through a series of originals and a selection of covers including Monk (“Trinkle Tinkle”) and Led Zeppelin!?!(“The Ocean). Enhancing the purity and passion at the heart of these performances, Redman himself plays with unceasing energy and invention, setting a pace the rhythm sections match every step of the way.
Dose Hermanos/Batique (Blotter Bros): In keeping with its title, the dual piano playing by Bob Bralove and Tom Constanten, is so intricately interwoven, so repeated, careful listening reveals increasingly greater detail within their interactions. This seamlessly compelling experience derives from the duo’s long-term partnership in both electronic and acoustic realms, but it’s all the more remarkable given the fact the pair were in different recording studios in different buildings when the sessions took place, the source of inspiration the very spontaneity upon which the project was based.
Bernie Worrell/Elevation-The Upper Air (MOD Technologies): An exercise in solo piano is perhaps not what a once and future keyboardist in Parliament/Funkadelic might be expected to release, but beyond the surprise factor (including the production presence of Bill Laswell), the title befits the elegance in Worrell’s playing. From start to finish, this CD sounds like it captures one of those dream-like moments in a musician’s life where the playing begins in pure reverie and in short order follows its own unconscious but irrefutable logic. Here it’s in the form of a series of selections from Miles Davis, Monk, Santana and Bob Marley that the artist melds into a seamless whole.
Fred Hersch Trio/Floating (Palmetto): Beginning as it does in such upbeat fashion on “You & the Night & the Music,” this disc may not wholly live up to its title, but the bouncy opener nevertheless suitably contrasts the otherwise tranquil mood that evolves over the course of the ten tracks. Pianist Fred Hersch, bassist John Hebert and drummer Eric McPherson proceed ever so smoothly from cut to cut and, even more impressively, through the changes and trade-offs within the respective numbers. The trio’s longevity may well be the source of its uncanny ability to anticipate each other’s instrumental movement(s), but that is not a gift to be taken for granted, but rather relished for the rarity it is.