Music-Magic is likely to occur when you unite woodwind specialist Michael Moore with pianist Fred Hersch and the very “musical” drummer/composer Gerry Hemingway for a recording session! Each one of these fine modernists are equally at home whether performing free-improv, chamber, mainstream or music so indefinable that mere words or classifications could be rendered banal or meaningless. With their 2nd recording, “Thirteen Ways” continue their excursions as a band that simply, was meant to be or as they say in boxing, “styles make fights”.
On Focus the majestic sounds and opulent interplay return as alto saxophonist Michael Moore weaves lush sweet-toned lines on the compositions titled, “Focus”, “Tango Bittersweet” and others. Moore’s unruffled romanticism and rich lyrical phrasing could soothe even the most savage of beasts which is also evident on Hersch’s bluesy yet subtly penetrating piece, “Out Someplace (blues for Matthew Shepard)”. Here, Moore’s poignant clarinet performance and Hersch’s light touch behind the keys place the listener in the land of no return as Hemingway employs color and nuance while maintaining the wavering rhythms. Many of these pieces are lavishly arranged dreamscapes for the mind’s eye as the casual yet purposeful demeanor speaks volumes! Hersch’s climactic crescendos, swirling chord progressions, contemplative soloing and overall elegant approach are the marks of unmistakable beauty! The music is liable to move inward or become frisky and extroverted through bursts of swing, free-improv and difficult Bop-ish unison lines as Focus is an invaluable statement from a band who possess the calling card titled, “Thirteen Ways”! * * * * ½
Fred Hersch; Piano: Michael Moore; Alto Sax, Clarinet & Bass Clarinet: Gerry Hemingway; Drums & Percussion