Dutch-born, New York-based bassist Joris Teepe's got a great band for his seventh album, Going Dutch, and it's a considerable pleasure to listen to Teepe, drummer Gene Jackson, pianist George Colligan, saxophonist Don Braden, and trumpeter Randy Brecker interact. The program of seven Teepe originals and two covers gives the quintet plenty of room to stretch out and play luxurious, swinging post bop.
Yet this is far from a blowing session. In addition to being an impeccable bassist with a precise but muscular attack, Teepe's a gifted composer, and his tunes are often memorable to the point of becoming stuck for hours in the listener's head. "The Princess and the Monster is based on an infectious, easy-paced piano vamp. With a harmonized two-horn head that's pure Blue Note and tremendous solos from Brecker, Braden, and ColliganTeepe's bass bobbing and jabbing between their notesit's irresistible.
Yet it could be better. Teepe's got a tendency towards overwriting, and the twelve minutes of "The Princess and the Monster are simply overstuffed with parts that were, to paraphrase the old anti-jazz cliché, probably more fun to play than hear. There's a recurring section where the horns or piano slip into a static phrase while Jackson or Teepe solos; Jackson's undeniably explosive here, but, really, this part just hamstrings the song's momentum. The title cut's slightly overcooked as well, with some very musicianly and impressivebut ultimately superfluousstops and starts built into its structure.
There's nothing at all wrong with the bluesy, sly "Nanananana. It's got more hard boppish harmonized horns in its theme, but the real essence of the tune is its phenomenal, thrilling call and response between Brecker and Braden that leads almost immediately to them simultaneous soloing over some very sympathetic accompaniment from the rhythm section. The quintet sounds completely integrated here, although each player is to some extent playing autonomously.
"Inventions in Maine is a slightly eccentric, almost Monkish blues played by the trio of Teepe, Colligan, and Jackson alone. It's got some great walking bass from the leader and some of Jackson's finest playing on the CD. His playing alongside Colligan's long, thematically impeccable solo is positively polyrhythmic at times; it's a little busy, but it works. Wayne Shorter's "Footprints is also played by the trio alone, and while it's beginning to seem that every jazz musician on earth has now recorded "Footprints (Shorter wrote some other tunes, you know), the version here's pretty seductive. Teepe's arrangement tweaks the song metrically and his almost contrapuntal bass linedoubled at times by Colligan's left handadds an ominous minor quality. Colligan's especially good here, but then, he's good everywhere on this disc. No contemporary pianist's solos combine swing, melody, and unity of theme more effectively.
This is, I think, Teepe's best band overall on record. Teepe's always memorable writing and arranging could at times do with a bit more austerity, but the shortcomings in those areas are offset by the band's pristine cohesion.