The spinning glance of Gerry Hemingway to the New York scene makes a lot of artists sigh while also delighting others, particularly those able to hear the subtle comparable references with a fidelity to the groove. Those who’ve had the good fortune to discover this bent drummer within Brax’s formation will not be crestfallen. Hemingway musters on The Whimbler jazzmen that can have their cumbersome personality, their euphonious qualities and even differences in their manner of playing jazz music.
From the fingertip compositions, spurred by the leader, this far-out quartet casting distils painstaking music as well as off and on frantics (not deprived of facetiousness) where the osmosis and flip-flop between these four felines totally soar.
Assessing as an unforgettable colourist, Hemingway’s tom-tom bearings are impeccable, his brushes whispering, feet quivering and oh those cymbals! The opulence of his sound pallet is fully expressed in every inch of this album, chiefly on the introduction to "Waitin" or, his solo on "Rallier". Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin is ablaze, maintaining his signature pert intellection sense of melody and harmony opening the way to an awe-inspiring Herb Robertson, who derisively de-compromises using a mute-edified manumission. There .... Mark Helias emphasizes the frenzied pace with his byword arch, then vehement string gazump.
The gem "The Current Underneath" showcases an Eskelin inoculating attitude and buoyancy into his execution. His voice is impressive while his solo passages are an interspersion and his worthy partner Robertson, tearing up and articulating adrenaline sounds. Robertson attacks emotions with steady, speedy, finger mastership, keeping with the cute melody until exploding his chops, touching audience’s soul.
Helias’s bass release sounds of luminous dexterity in "Pumbum" in tandem with Robertson, preserving a profusion of unconventional husky voices and roughing hues. "The Whimbler" allows the eclectic drummer and leader to set the tempo with smoothness, elegance and fluidity, carrying this four-bit byte always imposing himself, but at the same time leaving all the spectacular effects to Helias’ prophetics followed by a Robertson, swinging with dynamism instilled from his interior. "Skeptiv" is a melodically bright track with Eskelin and Robertson’s horns truly catching one’s conceit.
"Curlycue" deploys glorious pas de deux between Hemingway and Helias. Both cat’s voices succeed a genuine rhythm, while testifying a beautiful ardour wit, the insurance of a deer, flexible and powerful under an apparent indolence. "In The Distance" is filled with the ore’s mellifluous lines and wiry mode forms of collision. Helias deploys palm and genuine assaults to his instrument’s sketch.
"Kimkwella" is perhaps the grooviest track in which it is delightful to hear Helias and Hemingway at the crest of their powers; the confluence of eight limbs into one fluid motion of rhythm and musicality. This is an exquisite free-bop jazz superstar group that lives up to the clamour instigated by Hemingway’s muse.
Live in concert, with a clean communicative enthusiasm of the scene (if one returns), one leaves from there crucified .... completely transported, with all means of the term, as was the audience in Arles, France in May 2005, where the Gerry Hemingway Quartet finished their tour in which he made jazz lovers discover this wonderful creation called The Whimbler.
With sound explorations which are unceasingly new, these virtuosos perceptibly are on the top of the adventure with a visionary power. The result is balanced with the height of their ambition. Isn't this what one waits for from music?