Woodwind specialist/composer Marty Ehrlich is undoubtedly one of the brightest musicians in modern jazz, and with his band “Traveler’s Tales”, the artist along with his counterpart, saxophonist Tony Malaby trade vicious fours while engaging in complex yet thoroughly melodic choruses. And with the equally prominent rhythm section consisting of drummer Bobby Previte and bassist Jerome Harris, Ehrlich’s fabled band gets out of the gate in a flurry, recorded live at the Knitting Factory’s – Old Office venue.
Malinke’s Dance represents the first release by Ehrlich’s “Traveler’s Tales” in seven years yet the overall results meet or perhaps exceed what most of us would anticipate. From the onset of the albums opener, “Rhymes”, Ehrlich and Malaby signify an extremely potent twin sax attack as they pursue lustrous lyricism and extended soloing atop a mid-tempo yet powerful swing vamp. Here and throughout, Previte and Harris display their signature styles in assertive fashion as years of shedding and being in the trenches dispels staggering chops and shrewd exchanges as they artfully kick the overall proceedings into overdrive on more than a few occasions.
The musician’s tackle the late, great Julius Hemphill’s “Pigskin” featuring bright choruses that give way to Harris’ imaginative employment of harmonics and rhythmic plucking as he alters the primary theme along with Previte’s stinging support. That and more equates to a winning formula as Malinke’s Dance is a splendid reentry into the modern jazz scene from a band who continually garner the utmost respect from the often discerning listener.
* * * * ½ (out of * * * * *)
Marty Ehrlich; Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone & Flute: Tony Malaby; Tenor Saxophone & Soprano Saxophone: Jerome Harris; Acoustic Bass Guitar: Bobby Previte; Drums.