Flute On The Edge
is a thoroughly enjoyable, if somewhat predictable, jazz release by a flute-led jazz quartet. Jeremy Steig addresses the issue of flute as jazz instrument slightly differently than Francois Richard did on his recent album Ad Infinitum
(Effendi, 2006). Most, if not all flute players seem to have the deep need to add vibrato on any note longer than an eighth note. This tick, when added to the flute's natural breathiness, can be grating, at least to these ears. Richard seemed to try to play against the stereotype and succeeded in taking attention away from the flute and toward the music and musicianship.
Steig, on the other hand, plays exactly as you would expect, including techniques like overblowing and vocalization that deflect attention from the pristine airiness that the flute otherwise exudes. The tunes chosen reinforce the feeling of flute music, rather than music played on a flute. On the other hand, Steig's playing has an insistence that fills the center of every note.
Guitarist Vic Juris, the other front line voice on this recording, has a Bobo Stenson-like ability to adapt himself to the music at hand while still maintaining his individuality, as he manifested on the wonderful Remember When
with Steve LaSpina. Playing much of the time with a bit of a phase shift, Juris is quite unpredictable from track to track. There is absolutely no feeling of strain or hesitation; the notes just flow from his fingers, allowing the combination of the effortless with the emotional to attract the ear. Sometimes blues licks pop out, other times runs that twist and turn.
When playing on acoustic guitar, Juris is full of warmth, and his comping and filling behind Steig makes the record for me. When Juris combines with the rhythm section of drummer Anthony Pinciotti and bassist Cameron Brown, who work together to create a very tight foundation, something special can happen, as on "Samba De Orfeo." After a few plays, Flute On The Edge remains in my ear, in part because of the honesty of everyone involved.
Personnel: Jeremy Steig: flute; Vic Juris: electric and acoustic guitar; Cameron Brown: bass; Anthony