Something Quiet is Bob Gluck's second recording following up his 2008 Sideways. This is his first recording as an acoustic jazz player. The trio consists of Gluck, Joe Giardullo on soprano sax, and Christopher Dean Sullivan on bass. On this recording the listener is treated to some intricate compositions, ensemble playing, and improvisation that ranges from the quietest of moments to the cacophony of all out interaction between the musicians. Gluck's compositions are entertaining for their depth of moods and melodic integrity. They paint complex pictures of scenic and sonic texture, emotion and depth. The opening track "Waterway" is one of Gluck's original compositions first heard on Sideways, but here it is presented in a new light. The opening phrases of piano set a tone for a familiar sound. This may be attributed to the similarity in the piece and the work of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter on the 1+1 album. Gluck is very much into the work of Hancock. But his sources go well beyond Hancock and his compositional style is wide-ranging. On the second track Gluck employs a composition of Hancock's "Dolphin Dance" and gives it a very nice treatment in arrangement and interpretation.
"October Song" another of Gluck's original compositions is a dramatic piece with an essence of deep emotional content. The melody comes from somewhere deep in psyche and is dealt with in a full emotional sense by each of the musicians. Sullivan's bass solo on this piece is a full expression of Gluck's depth of feeling. The song almost naturally sets up the following track in which Giardullo's soft soprano sax work evokes a mode that is expanded on by Gluck.
Beyond the compositions, Bob Gluck is an excellent technician on the piano and I am hard-pressed to nail down his style. There are moments of avant garde, but then I will hear elements of Bill Evans in the way that Gluck moves through pieces with carefully integrated phrases. Clearly there is a certain degree of Keith Jarrett sound to Gluck's work, but even then, it is more developed than one style or another. In track four, "Going Away", Gluck's composition leaves so much room for the interpretation of Giardullo and Sullivan, that the piano comping in the background is almost secondary. But the trio is very tight enabling their interactions to have the effect of being greater than the sum of the parts.
Something Quiet is is a rich tapestry of melodic and dynamic textures with warm emotional nuances that make the recording an overall pleasant and entertaining experience. Gluck's compositions are full of interplay and color. "Still Wayters" for instance is an example of that full dynamic range of the composing style of Gluck. The piece highlights the soprano talent of Giadullo, but is in the strictest sense of the word, a collaborative effort in the presentation. Energy from each of the players is injected to raise Giadullo's performance. The result is a tense piece that is full of emotion, and that delivers a release that is made more rewarding by the extent to which the trio holds you in the grip of its strain. The track "Sideways" is one from the previous work but with a new twist and is the quiet part of the CD. The minimalist approach to the notes in the solos allow for the emotion of the composition to be fully experienced. The blasts of the sax and piano with the backing runs are almost counterpoint to the bass. This further adds to the intricacy of the piece and the listener's experience.
Closing with the track "Lifeline", the trio bring the listener to a quiet place and complete the listening experience. Gluck's piano is prominent to the listener as the final track brings home the message of the strength of Gluck as a composer and player. The overall experience of this CD is positive, pleasurable and fairly rewarding for the developed listener. This is not a CD for smooth jazz listeners, this is rich, complex, and full composition and execution. Well worth a listen by fans of strong piano trios in any tradition.