Composer and reedman Andrew Sterman devises a cunning intersection between modern mainstream jazz and improvisation. No doubt, he possesses a broad music vernacular, witnessed by his recordings or performances with the likes of contemporary minimalist composer Philip Glass, amid stints with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra. Sterman is an artist who vividly conveys a sense of authority. With a soulful, yet commanding tone on sax, he shades the outside spectrum with modern day jazz-based notables, bassist Kermit Driscoll, pianist Mick Rossi and drummer Tim Horner.
With artists contributing on select tracks, Sterman's penchant for texture and multihued tonalities are laudable attributes that coincide with his superb compositional pen and insightful arrangements. It's a comprehensive playbook engineered on vitality and uplifting choruses. Violinist Todd Reynolds and trumpeter Richie Vitale lend their wares on select works, where the music flows with variances in tempo, memorable themes and fluent deconstruction efforts.
What differentiates Sterman's craft from perhaps a pure mainstream jazz outlook is his perceptive ability to inject the element of surprise into many musical channels. His sinuous and endearing unison lines with Reynolds and Vitale, sometimes paint a picture of lament and tenderness, when they're not soaring towards a spiritual apex of sorts.
On "Nor is It Otherwise," the saxophonist imparts a bluesy late night vibe sparked with emotive lyricism, which is disseminated throughout. Other than the hard-hitting pieces, Sterman bridges a sensitive outlook with inventively architected themes, often executed with buoyancy and a full-throttle line of attack. However, on "Bullets Through an Open Sky," the leader's whispery alto flute phrasings, with Reynolds' sonorous notes, engender a flotation-like groove, tinted with inward looking mysticism.
Sterman is thoroughly hip and should conceivably entice both mainstream and progressive-jazz enthusiasts due to his harmonious compositions and multi-layered developments with the band. Here, Wet Paint is dappled with an artist's brush across a colorific fabric of sound, offering a consortium of beguiling perspectives throughout.