It is very difficult to say anything really bad about the new recording from Joshua Bayer , New Voice: Old Voice, the reason is very simple, it is as close to perfect as you can get. Joshua Bayer has crafted a singularly wonderful recording that invites you in from the very first cord and makes you want to stay long after the final note has faded away. The opening track , "Nostalgia In Times Square" is a Charles Mingus classic that sways and and swings in a way that would make its composer proud. The number is driven along by the extraordinary saxophone playing of Marty Nau and Lyle Link and backed by the expert and soulful bass playing of Mr Bayer.
"Skating" by Vince Guaraldi from the perennial Christmas favorite "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is a warm inviting song that again displays the tight playing of the members of this group, these men make it sound all so good that one can only imagine the number must have been written with them in mind. The five players compliment each other and their interaction is the key to the albums overall cohesive and smooth sound, the whole recording is flawless.
Every once in a while there is a song that when you see the title on the album cover your first reaction is one of confusion, as in why did they pick that one? "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" at first glance may sound like a strange choice, but in the hands of Mr Bayer and company it is a great lush number that sweeps you along on a strong wave of rhythm and sound so strong you find that you cannot help but get swept away, it is by far one of the best numbers on this album.
Besides being the driving force on the bass , Mr Bayer is also a standout composer , and he contributes no less than five of the numbers here. "Off Kilter" a straight ahead jazz number that again features the saxophone playing of Messrs Nau and Lyle Link, "New Voice" and "Society's Blue" which features Bob Sykes on the Rhodes. There is the emotional and expressive "Bounce" that showcases Bayer's amazing dexterity on the stand up bass as he not only compliments the saxophone but leads and guides the song along on an air of sophistication and grace. "Bethena's Bridge" in which Mr Bayer takes a moment to share the arranging spotlight with none other than Scott Joplin, is next and the song is a jazz lovers dream full of the kind of playing that comes from a deep and abounding love for not only the music but the history that goes with along with it.
The recording closes out with "Old Voice", the last of the Bayer compositions and it bookends the "New Voice" number beautifully, Mr Bayer is at his finest here and the song swings and if you close your eyes and really listen you are instantly transported to a small jazz club on the left bank of Paris in the wee small hours of the morning and you remember this is why you listen to jazz in the first place, to hear this kind of music making. New Voice : Old Voice by Joshua Bayer is one of the finest recordings you will come across this year, masterfully played, brilliantly composed and expertly executed this is one to be played over and over again.