Sunday, July 30, 2017

Brian Charette's "Kurrent" : Futuristic Circuit Bent Organ Trio

Brian Charette's Kurrent

Having grown up in the golden era of the soulful, hard-bop jazz organ trio, I have particularly fond memories of hearing this style of music that was so prevelant in the sixties and early seventies, when almost every lounge on the east coast had a B3 on its stage. Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson, Charles Earland and Jack McDuff were but a few of the names that created some memorable sounds on their B3's with those rotating Leslie speakers. But the basic sound of the organ trio has barely changed since Larry Young started to move in a new more progressive Coltrane-inspired direction in the seventies, before his untimely dealth. Now along comes Brian Charette.

Keyboard artist Brain Charette originally hails from Meriden, CT, where he was influenced to play the piano at an early age by his mother, herself an excellent pianist. He studied music at the University of CT where he received his BA and toured Europe as a working musician. He was drawn to the culture and jazz scene in Prague and lived in the Czech Republic for a time. As early as age seventeen, Charrette was working with jazz legends like Houston Person and Lou Donaldson. He took up the organ more seriously in the 1990s when he was finding more work playing organ than playing piano. For the past several years he has made the East Village of New York City his home and he can be often seen in New York accompanying other artists whenever an organist is required.  His keyboard skills have been recognized and utilized by such top tier pop artist as Chaka Khan, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon.

On his latest self-released album Kǘrrent, Charette is joined by guitarist Ben Monder and drummer Jordan Young. Reportedly, the trio has been working on this original music for the last two years and it shows by the groups tight and intuitive interaction. Charette has labeled the group a “futuristic circuit bent organ trio,” with the intention of preserving the core tradition of the organ-guitar-drums jazz-trio format and extending it into modernity with the addition of electronics and by conceiving more contemporary compositions.

The group starts off with “Doll Fin,” a catchy rythmically driven song, with Charette providing a driving bass line,(presumably with his B3 foot pedals or on a loop), then inserting a mechanistic, almost robotic sounding ostinato keyboard line. You can almost imagine the cool efficiency of an assembly-line of robotic arms working in musical unison. Monder’s guitar lines enter and eventually morph into a ripping, more distorted solo as Young provides skillfully placed crashes and splashes. Charette returns with a more traditional sounding B3 solo before reprising his robotic synth work and Monder’s repeating guitar lines. The song ends in a flurry by Young as Charette and Monder play a unison, electronic drone that decays at the finale. Welcome to the future of organ trios.

Kurrent: Jordan Young, Ben Monder & Brian Charette
Other songs that employ a more traditional organ trio sound include the bouncy “Time Changes” and the memorable ballad “Honeymoon Phase,” although Charette manages to include a synthetic harpsichord and some spacey electronic accents at the end of “Time Changes.” 

Charette and company always keep the music moving and the keyboardist is quite adept at using his Hammond pull bars to create just the right sound. Monder shows a beautiful harmonic sense in his deft accompaniments and Young is equally atuned to the group effort.

“Mano Y Mano” features some vocoder tempered vocals and some raw guitar work by Monder. The otherwise atmospheric “Shooby’s Riff” contains a strange repeated, electronically altered vocal riff that is indecipherable to my ears and that breaks the mood and rhythm of the song. There is a sci-fi element to this one that conjures up images of space travelers encountering looped transmissions from alien life.

There are three, short “Intermezzos;” small musical vignettes that seem like free improvisations that use electronically altered, textural interplay between keyboard, guitar, voice and drums.

The synth and organ driven “Conquistador” is like a musical journey to places that seem at once familiar and at the same time strangely foreign. Juxtaposing sounds that combine the weird and fanciful with the exotic, Charette and company are able to transport you into a Lucas-like world reminiscent of the bizarre alien bar scene from the original Star Wars.  Back to the Future indeed.

The futuristically funky “5th Base” is a driving vamp that allows Monder to shred a little with a nasty, distorted sound that pierces through your flesh. Charette has obviously been influenced Larry Young’s forward thinking style, but he has also been influenced by some of the synth masters of years gone by, as I hear elements of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman in his playing on this wild electronic jaunt.

There is a Minuet quality to the opening of “The Shape of Green,” Charette and Monder trading lines in a formal dance of notes behind the cadenced traps of Young. Eventually the song breaks into a repeating vamp, then opens up to a Monder guitar solo that pierces through clouds of electronic sounds that rainmaker Charette conjures up like a weather shaman.

The finale is a song titled “Catfish Sandwich,” and has a Monkish sounding line to it. This leads to an adrenaline driven electronic disco beat. Monder lets loose as Charette and Young provide the rhythmic drive. Charette changes over to the traditional B3 sound and the trio starts to percolate as he plays some of the most inspired straight organ soloing on the album. The intensity builds to a frenzy at the coda with Young providing a bombardment of traps, toms and cymbals to the end.

By mastering the myriad of possibilities that can be produced on a Hammond B3, incorporating synthesized and electronic effects tastefully and utilizing inventive arrangements, Charette, Monder and Young have managed to create a hybrid jazz-organ-trio sound that rockets into the future. Their music just might be the natural heir apparent to the progressive legacy of organist Larry Young. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pianist Kevin Bales 50th Birthday Bash: Bringing Out the Best in Atlanta's Jazz Community

Kevin Bales

What happens when one of the Southeast’s most sought-after jazz pianists- in  jazz parlance “one bad mf of a player”- wants to celebrate turning fifty and invites friends and fans to a birthday bash at a local jazz club/restaurant? You get a spectacular evening of song, camaraderie, and for the pianist, a humbling showering of respect and love that cannot be overstated. That is exactly what happened this past Friday evening at the Mason Tavern, on Clairmont Road in Decatur, when locally based pianist/educator Kevin Bales decided to celebrate his own personal milestone by sharing his music with family, friends, musical contemporaries and members of the Atlanta jazz community.

Tavern operator and jazz impresario Sam Yi-of Churchill Grounds fame- has been presenting jazz at the Tavern for the last five months and so it was no surprise when Bales asked Yi if the restaurant could accommodate his planned two-day birthday celebration.

Bales studied music at University of North Florida where he was mentored by legends saxophonist Bunky Green, bassist Ben Tucker and multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan.  Over the years, he has toured with Green, guitarist Nathen Page and vocalist Rene Marie. His brilliant sideman work can be heard on multiple recordings by Marie (one nominated for a Grammy); on Blue Note with trumpeter Marcus Printup; on records by Green, Sullivan and Page; as well as on recordings with local trumpeters Joe Gransden and Dr. Gordon Vernick. He has also recorded as a leader of his own piano trio and can be seen performing regularly around the Atlanta area. The energetic Bales also maintains a dedicated teaching practice at his studio in Tucker.

This past Friday night was truly special for Bales, he had hired a core rhythm section to play with him for the two nights of celebration; a joyful way to demonstrate and share his love of this music and the importance it has had on his life. The response from fellow musicians who wanted to play with him-celebrate his life of music- was so overwhelming that some who showed up never got a chance to play. No matter, the music was inspiring and the variety of talent was truly broad brushed.

Proprietor Sam Yi introduced the core band members, sometimes failing to find enough superlatives to describe their talents. The drummer Leon Anderson, Jr., now living in Tallahassee, Florida, was a special guest that Bales had summoned up for this gig. Bassist Billy Thorton, guitarist Trey Wright and saxophonist Sam Skelton rounded out the core group.

Sam Skelton
In talking to the pianist before the start of the set, Bales indicated that he had not prepared a set list of songs for the set, preferring to allow the spirit to move him in the right direction. It was a method that bubbled with entusiastic imagination.

They started off with the Victor Young classic “Stella by Starlight.”  Trey Wright, an accomplished guitarist and educator at Kennesaw Satet, took the first solo adding thoughtful, fluid lines to the melody as the rhythm section pushed the pace. The respected saxophonist Sam Skelton, who heads the jazz studies program at Kennesaw, took hold of the song and wrapped it around his fingers, twisting it taut, turning it to his whim before loosening it again, with a dazzling display of powerful virtuosity and control. Bassist Thorton probed the edges of the composition with rhythmic assurance. When Bales took his solo you could see the whirlwind developing. With a cascade of notes pouring out of his electric keyboard, Bales was often so driven to expression that he would elevate off his seat, creating his own tornado of sounds, you could hear the whoosh around him. He was clinging to his keyboard as if he might be spun off by the sheer centrifugal force of his playing. It was just a small glimpse of what was to come. Drummer Anderson seemed to be bidding his time, keeping the pace, but restraining himself at first; getting the lay of the terrain. His reticence was fortunately short-lived, as there were many times during the performance that his playing mesmerized the crowd with its sheer inventiveness.

Trey Wright and Kevin Bales
Bales took to the microphone to thank the full house of patrons for coming out to help him celebrate  this milestone. He acknowledged the presence of his family in the house; his son, daughter and future son-in law were happily all present, but what seemed to make him most nervous was the presence of his mother in the audience. Bales was especially moved by her attendance, intimating that she hadn’t seen him perform in several years. He dutifully dedicated the next song to her, the spiritual “Just A Closer Walk with Thee.”  The hymn, often played at New Orleans funeral services, is known for its gospel roots. It was beautifully rendered by pianist and his band, with drummer Anderson venturing into more creative grounds here.

Leon Anderson Jr.
With so many musicians in attendance, many anxiously waiting to perform in the pianist's honor, the guests started to make their way up to the stage. Two singers, Laura Coyle and Tom Dean, perfromed a few impromptu numbers. Duke Jordan’s "Jordu" was a sung as a duet that featured some deft scatting by both the lyrical Coyle and the raspy Dean, to the audience’s delight. Dean did his own interpretive, off-beat version of the Judy Garland classic “Over the Rainbow” and then the two returned to do a scat version of “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” Bales was at his most animated on this Edgar Sampson classic(made famous by Benny Goodman), tearing up the keyboard, bursts of creativity  pouring out of him like a gush of water from a bursting dam. The audience cheered in appreciation.
Tom Dean and Laura Coyle
After  a five-minute jazz-time break that was more like thirty, comedian Jerry Farber took to the microphone had the audience laughing, as he told one of his famous jokes before wishing Kevin a Happy Birthday. 

The second set started when Neal Starkey, a valued mentor that Bales acknowledged was crucial to his development when he first came to Atlanta, took the bass chair for a couple of songs, as tenor saxophonist Mike Walton, a regular member of the Joe Gransden Big Band,  did a stirring, Coltrane-inspired version of Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile.”
Mike Walton and Neal Starkey

Vocal stylist Virginia Schenck, who has several recordings with Bales accompanying her on piano, did a theatrical version of  the classic “Nature Boy.”  

Pianist Kenny Banks Sr., one of several fellow pianists who showed up to honor Bales, settled into the keyboard, starting a house-stirring Blues, supported by Thorton on bass, and Anderson percolating on drums,  Banks Sr. knows his blues bringing a different level of funk and soul to the keyboard. The rhythm section got into his groove and then saxophonist John Sandfort sat in to give a soulful solo of his own invention.

Trumpeter Russell Gunn, one of Atlanta's premier musicians and a former member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, surprisingly popped in unannounced  for a cameo, after Sandfort’s solo. The fiercely powerful, take no prisoners Gunn, blasted this blues into the stratosphere with a brief but powerful solo that got right to the heart of the song's sentment and had the audience on its feet. The trombonist Saunder Sermens also joined in with a softer, more deliberately paced solo. 

Leon Anderson Jr., Russell Gunn and Billy Thorton
The evening continued with Kevin Smith taking over the bass chair as the Armenian cellist/vocalist, Arpenik Hakobyan sang a sensitive version of the classic “Autumn Leaves.” Pianist and Director of Jazz Studies at Emory University, Gary Motley took over the keyboard from Bales and joined by Anderson, Skelton and Smith did a rousing version of “Close Your Eyes.” The evening closed out, past the midnight witching hour, to the house singing Happy Birthday to Bales, led by his daughter, and with Motley and Bales dueling at the cramped electric keyboard to a roaring finale.
Billy Thorton and Kenny Banks Sr.

Due to time restraints, many musicians who came never had the opportunity to play. I saw Joe Gransden, E.J. Hughes, Nick Rosen, Tia Rix and others all in attendance and support. To say that it was a memorable evening would be an understatement, but clearly the event represented some of the best the Atlanta jazz community has to offer and is a testament to how much love and respect pianist Kevin Bales inspires. 

Kevin Smith, Gary Motley and Kevin Bales

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Vibrapohonist Steve Nelson's Homage to Mulgrew Miller: "Brothers Under the Sun"

The vibraphonist Steve Nelson is one of those musicians who has been discreetly plying his craft over the years, most frequently with groups led by the pianist Mulgrew Miller and the bassist Dave Holland. On his latest album Brothers Under the Sun, a title that makes reference to the friendship and astrological affinity Nelson had with the pianist Mulgrew Miller (they were both born under the sign of Leo), Nelson selects a repertoire of songs that are either composed by late pianist or are strongly associated with him. The result is a rewarding collection of music that honor Miller's legacy by perfroming these songs with a joyful reverance, consummate professionalism and an unerring sense of swing.

The rhythm section of Peter Washington and Lewis Nash assure a skilled continuity of spirit for this endeavor, as they, with Nelson played on several recordings with Mr. Miller. The wild card here is the pianist Danny Grissett- who has played previously with this group under the leadership of trumpeter Jeremy Pelt- who does an admirable job of injecting his own creativity into this homage, including his own composition dedicated to Mr. Miller, the closer “Melody for Mulgrew.”

The album leads off with a sauntering “The More I See You” which Nelson plays faithfully in deference to the melody, an approach favored by Mr. Miller when he would play ballads. Nelson’s tone has a warm resonance that comes from the measured and deliberate attack of his mallets. Grissett incorporates some of Miller’s bluesy/gospel feel, while still fluidly traversing across the keys in a modern approach. The group pulses along with Washington’s warm, throbbing bass lines leading the way. Nash, a master swinger, knows how to subtly prod the group, propulsing them forward with just the right mixture of press rolls and cymbal splashes.

The Afro-Latin beat of Miller’s vibrant “Eastern Joy Dance,” allows the group a more fluid platform on which to improvise. Nelson’s mallets glide over the bars in a glissando of notes. Grissett is more angular in his approach here, as Washington and Lewis create the rhythmic rumble.

“Grew’s Tune” is one of Mr. Miller’s most memorable compositions and these guys do it royally. The lock-step, unison playing of Grissett and Nelson is coolly intuitive. Grissett’s solo is a miniature of style, before Washington offers his own impressively effervescent solo.

“Soul-Leo,” -a reference to the astrological sign that binds Miller and Nelson together forever- has its own special swagger. Washington’s bass guiding the tune like a beacon in the night. Nelson and Grissett once again play deftly in unison; both offer invigorated solos as Nash pushes the song along effectively behind Grissett’s repeating left-hand phrases to the coda.

The Rogers and Hart standard “It Never Entered My Mind,” is introduced by Nelson with a gently resonating vibes solo, after which the group picks up at a languished pace. The album continues with the Brazilian influenced Miller composition “Samba D’ Blue,” the bright, uplifting Nelson title composition “Brothers Under the Sun,” and  another  two Miller compositions “For Those Who Do” and the angular, Monkish “New Wheels,” where the group is at its dynamic best. The set ends with pianist Grissett’s persuasive homage, the buoyant and deferential “Melody for Mulgrew.”

Here is a video of Nelson with Miller from 2011:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pete Malinverni Trio: "Heaven" The Spiritual Side of Jazz

I have had the pleasure of meeting pianist Pete Malinverni, and the fortune to have seen him perform his pianistic magic in some intimate and spiritual settings on several occasions. Malinverni is a thoughtful, serene man who brings a deep and abiding sense of reverence to his playing. He has been steeped in religious music for decades, with tenures as the musical director of the Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY and the Pound Ridge Community Church in Pound Ridge, NY- where I went to several Sunday services just to see him play. He is also a eminent educator and currently is an assistant professor of jazz studies at SUNY Purchase. Pete was kind enough to entertain an interview for my blog back in 2013, which for those who are interested can be found here.

Make no mistake about it, Malinverni can swing, having played in trios with iconic drummer Mel Lewis and with Amhad Jamal drummer Vernel Fourier among others. His music has a naked honesty that sweeps you up in its sincerity and emotional content. 

On his latest release Heaven, Malinverni is joined by eclectic bassist Ben Allison and journeyman drummer Akira Tana.  Together these three make some beautiful and sensitive music. Not surprisingly, the album has a spiritual theme and explores two compositions from Duke Ellington, the title tune “Heaven” and “Come Sunday”; four traditional songs that have an enduring messages of hope and faith; two obscure gems a gorgeous arrangement of a song by Hannah Senesh titled “Eili, Eili” and an Ungar/ Mason composition “Ashokan Farewell;” the uplifting, gospel influenced Curtis Mayfield tune “People Get Ready” and one of Malinverni’s own “Psalm 23.”

“Heaven” is a swinging straight ahead rendering that features Malinverni’s fluid, sometimes Monkish, piano lines, Allison’s pulsing bass and Tana’s light comping. Allison and Tana each offer brief but potent solo work here, before the group returns to the melody line at the coda.

Malinverni’s “Psalm 23,” is based on the famous Biblical passage from David that starts with “The Lord is my Sheperd, I shall not want…” He uses a reverent musical treatment to portray a spiritual that acknowledges God’s grace and guidance given to his people even when they “….walk through the valley of darkness..” The pianist creates a delicate musical monologue that mimics the verse- each challenge met with faith in the higher being- and then he builds the musical tension to a tempest with a rumble created by the trio, until he resolves it to a peaceful conclusion at the coda.  

The bubbling “Down in the River to Pray” is given a buoyant 5/4 bounce with Allison’s pulsing bass line holding down the beat with Tana’s rim and cymbals, as Malinverni explores around the melody.

“Shenandoah” is given a sparse treatment, with vocalist Karrin Allyson lending her clear, light voice to Allison’s bass and Malinverni’s accompanying piano. Allison and Malinverni both take short probing solos before Allyson, whose vocal could bring a bit more emotional content to this song, returns to finish up this endearing American folk song.

“Eili, Eili” is a composition I ‘ve never heard before, apparently based on a poem written by a Hungarian woman, a Jew who fought the Nazi’s in WWII and died trying to save concentration camp prisoners. True to the feeling of the poem, Malinverni and Allison do a marvelous job of making this one of the most moving pieces on the album. The pianist is at his most emotive here and bassist Allison’s plump lines are in beautiful counterpoint to the piano and to Tana’s masterful brushwork.

The lyrics of Curtis Mayfield’s “People, Get Ready” have an uplifting message to an oppressed people and Malinverni deftly finds an elevating experience in this enduring melody, which he and bandmates play with great spirit and elation.

Ellington’s “Come Sunday” is a gorgeous composition that embodies the maestro’s sense of what is spiritual. Guest Jon Faddis’s longing trumpet solo is a case in point. There is a poignancy to his slurring, voice-like horn, a human cry that transcends formalized religious context and unifies us all no matter what our beliefs. The trio expertly backs Faddis exemplary playing of this gem and there is no way one can’t come away from this unmoved.

Another traditional song “A City Called Heaven” features a moving bass solo by Allison at the opening. The bassist has a tremendous feel for this music and it shows here. His tone is clear, his attack is clean and his ideas seem in line with the pianist’s own inclinations-warm, sensitive and uncluttered.

Alto saxophonist Steve Wilson is about as in demand as anyone on the scene today. On “Wade in the Water,” a song made popular by Ramsey Lewis, Malinverni plays a darting solo that floats above his rhythm sections steady pulse. Wilson’s angular alto brings some swinging bop to this one, and he and Malinverni play off each other effectively for a brief section before returning to the head.

The final song on the album is “Ashokan Farewell” a song made famous as the theme to documentary filmmaker Ken Burns “Civil War” series on PBS. The funny thing is despite its melancholy, old-worldish sound, it wasn’t written until 1982 and by a man from the Bronx. 

Notwithstanding the origins of this song- which is based on a Scottish lament- it has been heard by millions and construed to be a part of Americana folk music. Malinverni finds, as many of us do,that the song has a spiritual core to its tender, moving theme. He plays this as a sauntering slow waltz and it seems like the perfect tune to end this album of music on.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano: "Compassion The Music of John Coltrane"

In June of 2017 saxophonist Dave Liebman, a member of the original group, Saxophone Summit, a group dedicated to the legacy of John Coltrane, was asked if he could organize that group or something like it to perform on the BBC’s Jazz on 3 radio program, for the 40th anniversary of John Coltrane’s passing on July 17, 2007. The original Saxophone Summit from 1996 was made up of saxophonists Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano and Liebman, as well as the rhythm section of bassist Cecil McBee, pianist Phil Markowitz and drummer Billy Hart. With the passing of Michael Brecker in 2007, the group continued over the years in various iterations that included, at times, saxophonists Greg Osby and later Ravi Coltrane. With time being so tight, Liebman rallied the core of the group; himself, Lovano, Hart and Markowitz for the date. Ravi Coltrane and Cecil McBee, unfortunately, had prior commitments, and so journeyman bassist Ron McClure was enlisted for this recording.

Compassion: The Music of John Coltrane came to life. As Liebman writes in the thoroughly engaging liner notes, Coltrane’s legacy was vast, and spanned so many stylistic , that choosing a suitable repertoire to play would be a challenge unto itself.  With the anniversary looming, Lovano and Liebman decided that for this gig, they would perform music from all Coltrane’s periods. The result is an original interpretation of Coltrane’s music, as well as a wonderful homage to a master that these musicians all see as one of their most enduring influences.

The set list includes “Locomotion” from the 1958 classic Blue Train, a blues based song that is representative of Coltrane’s early Blue Note period. The dueling tenors of Liebman with his sharper, more piercing tone and then Lovano’s huskier horn, take turns carrying on this classic, as the throbbing bass of McClure, the dynamic piano of Markowitz and the splashing cymbals of Hart propel this classic.  

Coltrane’s more universal appeal was often found through his sensitive playing on ballads, and here Lovano chooses the pensive “Central Park West” as a vehicle of expression. His tenor tone is burnished and lustrous. Markowitz plays a resplendent intro to the diatonic “Dear Lord” that features Liebman on a beautifully realized soprano saxophone solo that hovers like an angle on a cloud.

The Spanish tinged “Ole” represents Coltrane’s excursion into the realm of modal, eastern-influenced music.  The sedately paced intro finds the woodwind players conversing, this time with Liebman on wooden recorder and Lovano on Scottish Flute, before switching to soprano saxophone and tenor saxophone respectively. The modal vamp allows the rhythm section to set the roiling groove. Markowitz inventive solo is a highlight, before Lovano enters with his own deep throated voice. Liebman then squeals and squeaks with a flurry on his soprano. As the song progresses, the two horns let loose with a series of high pitched screeches and wails- a precursor to the more avant-garde sounds to come in Coltrane’s music- before McClure takes a pulsing bass solo at the coda.

“Reverend King,” a song dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. from Coltrane’s Cosmic Music album, was originally recorded in 1966 and released posthumously in 1968. This was a period when the saxophonist was experimenting with dialogue between himself and saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. Lovano and Liebman play on this dialogue with a more subdued alto clarinet and C flute respectively. Hart’s toms accentuating a rolling background with McClure’s Arco bass. The tinkling notes of Markowitz’s piano, Liebman’s fluttering flute, Lovano’s woody alto clarinet and McClure’s bowed bass all create the moody feel of this piece.

“Equinox” was a return to a minor blues format, this time during Coltrane’s Atlantic years, originally recorded in 1960. Lovano and Liebman choose to interpret this as if Coltrane played it in his later years. A looser, more open feeling that was not restricted so much by form or structure. To this end the drummer Billy Hart sets the tone with his distinctively free feel to his rhythmic timekeeping. Liebman’s soprano soars into atmospherics, Markowitz expands the musical palate with a stirring solo of invention and succinctness. Lovano’s tenor is at its most exploratory, a raspy excursion out to the borders of the tune’s boundaries.

The final song is “Compassion” and comes from Meditations, Coltrane’s follow up album to his groundbreaking A Love Supreme. By this point, in his ever-changing search for expression in his music, Coltrane had become his most free and most spiritual. On the original recording Coltrane used two drummers, Elvin Jones and Rashid Ali. Appropriately, master drummer Hart starts this piece off for the first four minutes introducing several different rhythmic variations by his deft use of sticks, toms and cymbals.  A pulsing bass line by McClure and some stabbing piano notes by Markowitz lead into the dual tenors stating their lines in unison. Liebman is first to solo, a piercing, cascade of notes that occasionally shriek into plaintive cries. Lovano enters with his aulochrome, a twinned soprano saxophone, with its duality of voice that reminds me of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s ventures into the simultaneous use of multiple horns. Markowitz, McClure and Hart play an intuitive break that is rash, atonal, bombastic and percussive. The two horns re-enter this time with Liebman on soprano and Lovano back to tenor. This free, unstructured rant goes on for seventeen minutes and is , for me, the least enjoyable part of this album. As with some of Coltrane’s later unstructured, avant-garde work it is not for everyone, but true to the spirit of what the master was doing at this point in his career.

As with many of Resonance Records, and producer Zev Fledman’s recent releases, the packaging is rich, the liner notes informative and meaty, the sound quality is good and the music captures a group of master musicians paying homage to one of their greatest influences. For any Coltrane fan this one is a keeper.