Boston area drummer/composer Brooke Sofferman’s fourth release as a leader features more of the pop, zip and vitality witnessed in the past. And he always aligns himself with the upper echelon of jazz performers such as sax titan Jerry Bergonzi and trumpeter Phil Grenadier. But don’t let Sofferman’s youth intimate that he’s yet another music college grad seeking a style or distinctive voice. As a matter of fact, the drummer shines as a top-notch composer who sketches out melodic content within fluent and power-packed arrangements.
Marked with bursts of Latin jazz amid torrid swing vamps and soaring bop lines, the musicians’ generate the KO punch throughout. On "Five Whines," guitarist Norm Zocher’s scorching, climactic progressions ride a top a staggered flow, nicely contrasted with ominous intentions. At times, the band zooms in for the kill while winding the pulse down. And when Sofferman stretches out he often comes across like a modern day Buddy Rich performing within a small ensemble environment.
One of the may highlights of this divergent outing features the band’s spin on Led Zeppelin’s "All Kashmir," propelled by the drummer’s snappy pulse and the hornists’ punchy choruses that spruce up the primary theme. No lulls in the game-plan here as Sofferman and bassist Bruno Raberg maintain a bouncy bottom-end with finesse, firepower and intuitively engaged symmetry. After listening to this session numerous times, I couldn’t help but think of the clichéd analogies of a dangerously fast and sinuously charted roller coaster ride.