Ron Bierman

Ron Bierman

At fgitst, this sounds like John Moulder's session.  He carries the melody and rides the slalom-like harmonic changes with unusual sureness and grace.  But no, Larry Gray's the leader, wrote the tunes, skis the drifts with equal assurance, and has his fair shar of solo time.  Charles Heath completes the trio with the assertive, yet supportive style of many of today's best drummers.

The prospects weren't promising—a rare combo mix, mostly original tunes, relatively unknown musicians, and a Scandinavian recording label. Shudder. The last group of young Northern Europeans I'd heard had me torn between boredom and suicide. Surprise! The trio sound works, the originals are strong, the musicians are first class, and the audio quality is just fine.

 

Electronic whiiiiiiiine! Clatter! Softer whiiine. Clopping of an uncoordinated, seven-legged pony. Screeech! Scrunch. Electronic drone. Yada, yada, yada. If that's your idea of either fun or how to extend the possibilities of trumpet playing, you'll love this album. Otherwise, for all but the most open minded-- or gullible-- this is noise. If you doubt my judgement, visit the Carrier Records site. It says, "We believe in noise."

Vertical starts out with "Some Days," a light-hearted fast samba featuring fluffy flute and romantic guitar. Not a big surprise; guitarist Sandro Albert was born in Brazil and singer Milton Nascimento is a major influence. But as the session proceeds, though Albert remains in South America, he's not always on Rio's sunny beach. Turns out Heitor Villa Lobos was another major influence, and this album owes as much to that classical composer as to Nascimento or Antonio Carlos Jobim. Track six is "O
When Ron Carter writes album notes for another bass player, I take notice. After hearing this album, I think even non-bassists will agree Kenny Davis deserves the praise. Whether soloing or under the top line with well-chosen harmonic support, his articulation is clean, his intonation dead-on, his tone rich and full. Unusual for even a bass-led group, the bowed solo on the heartfelt "Gone too Soon" makes it the date's best track. Davis goes to bluesy plucking on "Before Sunrise," and it's anothe
Julian Waterfall Pollack is a keeper. Though in his early 20s, he already has enough technique and imagination to hold attention, and he swings with the best. The opening, "Summertime," demonstrates all of the above. After a slow bluesy statement of the melody, there's a repeat in double-time with insistent single-note harmony in the left hand. Double-time prevails. Runs flash by. The left hand challenges the right in a fugal pattern with cross rhythms. Your foot needs to tap, but may not be abl
The first cut here, "Espelho de tua força," has the expectant vibe of great things to come. What does follow is Brazilian-tinged jazz driven by consistently precise and colorful percussion--friendly but not exceptional. The flute is light and fluffy, the keyboard electronically mellow, the bass plump and springy. Alexandre Cunha provides the main excitement. He's a wonderful percussionist, fluent in the idioms of both American jazz and Latin rhythms, and active, but careful to fit in as he prod
Creative drive demands new sounds and techniques. With so many terrific jazz pianists recording nowadays, it's tough to satisfy that drive—tough even to be noticed, unless you are the second coming of Art Tatum. It’s tempting to try a new approach—maybe a piano and percussion duo? Dave Anderson and Mike Wingo have given it a shot.Wingo produces a spectrum of colors not often heard accompanying a piano. His exotic set includes bongos, many cymbal sizes, and a few percussive rarities. Bongos push
This is an unusual, even strange release. The basic idea is to take an eight-note theme by Bach (from his First Invention), and play it over and over again while changing keys and keyboard tone-quality. The variations are alternated with Afro-Cuban percussion. I probably shouldn't have told you that, because part of the effect Greg Burk and Vicente Lebron are no doubt after is the surprise of mixing Bach with conga drums. Although they played together for over five years in Boston's Either/Orche
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