Fans of bop, fusion, Smooth Jazz, and even Acid will all find something very likeable in this electrifying recording. That's because Diary of a Bandstand runs the gambit, as they say. In order to understand where these guys are going, you must first allow them to take you there. There is nothing according to typical formula here, and there is no road map. This is where I wish we could just call Jazz...Jazz. Not smooth, or contemporary, or anything else. Just Jazz.
With compositions that are both provocative and serene, Darryl Reeves and company remind me of what attracted me to Jazz in the first place. The unexpected, the unfamiliar, and some very accomplished musicianship. The triple somersault, I call it. The point at which dexterity and creativity find common ground. Most importantly, they sound great.
I have to point out artists like Chick Corea, Tony Williams, Harvey Mason, Jaco Pastorius, and Herbie Hancock to put you in the right frame of mind. Back in the 1970's these cats were blazing trails that led to places no one had been before, not even themselves. They made Jazz ladies clutch their purses. They weren't afraid to try things. They did some experimenting, and like most scientists, some projects yielded hard-to-define results. Sometimes, I understood immediately, and sometimes it would hit me later, and I would go, "Hey! I get it!". Always with a smile and a sense of discovery. And that's what Jazz represents, in its truest form. A fearless form of expression.
While listening to Diary of a Bandstand I am reminded of the Black & White films I watched of Thelonious and Coltrane because I was too young to see them in person. Jazz seemed so simple and yet complex. Coltrane in his conservative suit, thin black tie. Monk dancing away from the piano, as if they were two separate beings. Well, of course they were. It's clear that Darryl was taking notes and paying attention to his Jazz predecessors, because certain qualities of both eras mentioned are present in his music. This CD takes me back, but in a Y2K sort of way. Not a throwback recording. Just sharp, clever, and refreshing music, like it used to be. No single phrase or adjective quite describes it, and that's how you know it's really Jazz.
Kudos to keyboardist, Robert Glasper and Drummer, Lumark Gulley (who would make Tony Williams proud), and of course, Darryl Reeves for quarterbacking the whole thing and letting go with musicians he clearly trusts.
Recommended for anyone looking to take a break from the same old schmoove (spelling intentional).