How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
You can definitely hear the influence of Mr. Coltrane in the texture, tone and temperament of Andrew Sterman's tenor, while his flute at times displays a Hubert Laws reverence. The latest from this Phillip Glass Ensemble mainstay, Blue Canvas with Spiral , has pianist Fred Hersch, former Trane drummer Rashied Ali, and a host of other top players assisting him in conveying a positive spirit through nine uplifting self-composed pieces.
Hersch and bassist Jeff Carney spin a delicate web that allows Ali and Sterman to move through intriguing conversations on their way to realization during "The Aspirant." Along the way, Sterman creates a tenoric tension that is twice released when he encounters himself on mid-19th Century wooden flute. Each time, the flute reflects ethereal melodies that assist in achieving a resolution that results in subsequent musical advancement. The lovely timbre of Erik Friedlander's cello is combined with a graceful yet strident flute and a gentle piano to present a mixed media view of "Blue Canvas with Spiral." This same trio is then used to effectively convey the relaxingly warm chamber atmosphere of "Con Sordino."
Guitarist Bob Palmieri blends with Sterman's rich tenor to initially depict a static portrait that is brought to life by Ali's drums and Carney's bass to spawn "Still Life in Motion." He then mixes with Mick Rossi's flowing piano and Mary Ann McSweeney's rhythmical bass to colorize Sterman's alto flute and tenor on the drummerless "Years Ago." Frank Cassara's marimba grounds the free-floating experience of "The Numinous" before Sterman's tenor rings out a stirringly soulful "Life of Crime" and praises life's joy on the exhilarating "Senses Bureau." Ali and Carney provide a classic backdrop for Hersch and Sterman to reminisce on the melodic ballad "Friendships of Youth" to complete the session.
Track Listing: 1. The Aspirant;
2. Blue Canvas with Spiral;
3. Con Sordino;
4. Still Life in Motion;
5. Years Ago;
6. The Numinous;
7. Life of Crime;
8. Senses Bureau;
9. Friendships of Youth.
Personnel: Andrew Sterman-tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute; Fred Hersch-piano (1,2,3,4,9); Erik Friedlander-cello (2,3); Jeff Carney-bass (1,4,9); Rashied Ali-drums (1,4,9); Bob Palmieri-guitar (4,5,8); Mary Ann McSweeney-bass (5); Frank Cassara-marimba (6); Mick Rossi-piano (5,7); Steve Rodby-bass (6,7,8); Mark Walker-drums, percussion (6,7,8); Fred Simon-synthesizer (6), piano (8)