Orlando le Fleming, a British-born bassist residing in New York since 2003, has become a fully integrated part of the jazz scene in the Big Apple. While he has spent much of his time in a supportive role, working with the likes of vocalist Jane Monheit
, fusion drumming legend Billy Cobham
, saxophonist Seamus Blake
and a long list of other high profile artists, he now stands poised and ready to establish himself as a leader with From Brooklyn With Love: Live At Freddy's
While le Fleming's bass craft and compositional skills help him achieve his aims here, a good amount of credit should also go to his colleagues. Guitarist Lage Lund
, saxophonist Will Vinson
and drummer Antonio Sanchez
each act as singular musical forces, working within their own orbit while simultaneously carrying on dialogue with one another and bringing le Fleming's compositions to life. Lund's wafting, mellifluous chordal craft is the glue that holds the pieces togetherthin enough to keep the group sound in balance but thick in complexity, with great warmth. His use of two repeated chordswith slight rhythmic variationsis more than enough to grab the attention as "False Dilemma" begins. Vinson and Lund both have some solo opportunities here but Sanchez, whether tangling a bit with Vinson or soloing over the vamp-ish guitar-led section at the tail end of the song, provides the greatest impact. The title track opens with a lengthy bass introduction, leading into a stable riff that underscores dreamy guitar lines. Sanchez has a light touch here and le Fleming creates more forward motion as the music evolves. While Vinson is the more rhythmically aggressive soloist here, his sound maintains its attractive luster.
A mid-song bass cadenza proves to be the highlight on the airy "Inevitability," while the quartet's rapport is on display during "Rummaging For Significance." Firmer rhythmic footing is present from the get-go on the latter tunedue to le Fleming's bass workand Lund serves multiple roles, filling in the sound of the band and latching onto Vinson's lines, moving right with him. Sanchez provides solid drumming here but takes on a more subtle role during "Enchantress." A freely delivered guitar introduction leads into this ballad, which focuses on Vinson's soothing lines. Sanchez briefly provides some funky, Latin-influenced grooves behind Lund's steady strumming on "Deceptive Lizard," but this steady grind doesn't last long and Lund, Sanchez and le Fleming become a more organic entityindividually and as a groupduring Vinson's solo. The rhythm section returns in a rocking unison before le Fleming solos in a more spacious setting. Sanchez's stormy drumming is a steady force beneath Lund's soloing and le Fleming is the counterbalance between the two. As things progress, Sanchez and Lund toy with the beat, displacing and dancing withand aroundone another and eventually providing support upon Vinson's return.
From beginning to end, From Brooklyn With Love-Live At Freddy's is an engaging picture of an artist ready to push boundaries and take control of his own destiny.
Personnel: Orlando le Fleming: bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums; Will Vinson: alto saxophone; Lage Lund: guitar.