Way too many jazz "composers come up with a derivative riff and hastily christen the piece a composition. While that may be technically true, there is quite a difference between these works and full-bodied, sturdy efforts that can stand on their own. Fortunately for listeners, saxophonist Bob Reynolds easily earns the title of composer with the material he presents on Can't Wait For Perfect
. The strong performances by the musicians and the deployment of uniquely thoughtful instrumentation add even more interest to the work.
Many of the songs feature the intriguing juxtaposition of a strong backbeat with dreamy, wistful solos. "Belief frames an insistent vamp by pianist Aaron Goldberg with wispy sighs of pedal steel by David Soler. The mere presence of the pedal steel reveals a willingness to try something different. Less thought would have simply resulted in the use of a cringe-worthy synthesizer to achieve the shading effect. The pedal steel pulls off the neat trick of seeming both organic and ethereal. Fortunately when the synthesizers do make an appearance later in the disc, they are at least as close to subtle as possible.
Throughout, Reynolds solos with his mind firmly on the melodyhis solos work to build the mood of the piece, rather than to fit in as many notes as possible. Bassist Reuben Rogers also finds numerous opportunities to shine, particularly with his knotty work on the title track and bowed accompaniment on the meditative, slow-building closer, "The Escape.
Overall the album is a very strong statement with varied moods and textures. It will be interesting to keep an eye on Reynolds to see what he does next.
Track Listing: Common Ground; Belief; Can't Wait For Perfect; Summer Light; First Steps; Fiction; Nine Lives;
Intro (For Tomorrow); Last Minute (Late Again); The Escape.
Personnel: Bob Reynolds: tenor saxophone; Aaron Goldberg: piano and rhodes; Reuben Rogers: bass;
Eric Harland: drums; Mike Moreno: guitar; David Soler: pedal steel guitar.