My first response when I looked at the CD cover for Morrie Louden’s Time Piece was ‘There sure are a lot of musicians on this album.’ Counting Louden, seventeen different musicians appear on Time Piece, and that is not counting vocalist Gretchen Parlato. The presence of so many talented musicians contributes to the full-bodied orchestral ambience created by Louden and arranger Gil Goldstein
Inspired by the compositions of Antonio Carlos Jobin, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Michel Lagrand, Louden worked his magic on the charts for "Insensatez," a distinctly Brazilian tune blessed by the emotive and ethereal high soprano vocals of Gretchen Parlato. In addition to Louden’s bass other highlights to listen for on "Insensatez," include Alex Sipiagin’s flugelhorn and Mike Eckroth’s piano solo. The Portuguese lyrics were written by Nanny Assis. I do not understand a word of Portuguese but I do understand sensibility and both the musicians and Parlato bring a lot of that to this great song.
"624 Main St." is a straight ahead jazz tune that places a lot of emphasis on Seamus Blake’s tenor saxophone, led by Edward Simon’s piano chops by the midpoint, with Louden’s extended bass solo ushering in the close, when he is once again joined by Blake. With so many talented musicians featured on Time Piece, it would be easy to lose sight of the superb drumming and percussion playing that is so evident on this CD. Drummer Gary Novak and percussionist Nanny Assis bring wonderful texture and depth to "624 Main St."
The title track, "Time Piece," was apparently written by Louden over the course of several years during the composer’s life. The movement of the music from somber, to contemplative and then lively suggests the moods of those years. Louden’s bassline is stronger and thrust more into the forefront on "Time Piece." Three time Grammy Award winner and cellist Gil Goldstein arranged the strings for "Time Piece." The violins of Joyce Hamann and Lois Martin compliment violist Belinda Whitney and cellist Richard Locker beautifully.
Those with an affinity for brass and woodwind instruments will fall in love with the sprightly "Tunamo." Flautist Oriente Lopez is remarkable with his solo piece and Goldstein has come up with some great arrangements for tenor sax men Bob Sheppard and Seamus Blake, who are joined by Larry Ferrall (trombone) and bass trombonist George Flynn.
Parlato, the 2004 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocalist Competition, reappears with her awe-inspiring reading of "A Rosa," and ethereal vocalese on "Majique."
If you are looking to purchase a new jazz CD Time Piece would be an excellent addition to any collection.