Rick McLaughlin: Study of Light (2003)
Study of Light has truly accomplished its goal in exposing these three players in the most natural shades of light that could be imagined. The freeness of "Ink" and "Colors of Chloe" evoke a feeling of light slowly falling onto the musicians like a waterfall onto lilypads. You can imagine them in all black playing in the darkness and slowly emerging from the darkness into a glorious mountain pasture as they reach climaxes.
However, bassist Rick McLaughlin has dared to do something new and original for a jazz album: opening with a classical excerpt from Ravel, a composer from whom many musicians today derive their source of inspiration as composers. McLaughlin's improvised treatment sheds new light on the possibilities of jazz applied to what we call "classical music" – but which in reality is simply meticulously organized chord changes. The late romantic era comes to mind throughout the session and has succeeded in bringing the listener into a trance-like state.
With the virtuoustic piano work of Greg Burk and light lyrical soprano sax playing from Jeremy Udden, Study of Light ought to appeal to lovers of straight-ahead with standards such as "Without a Song" and Ellington's "Isfahan" – as well as those who prefer the more avant-garde or heady, with Burk and McLaughlin's originals.
Track Listing: Ravel String Quartet "Assez vif, tres rhythme" (Ravel, arr. McLaughlin) Ink (Greg Burk) Marina (Rick McLaughlin) OP (Sam Jones) Blink to Be (Greg Burk) Delicate (Rick McLaughlin) Colors of Chloe (Eberhard Weber) Isfahan (Duke Ellington) Without a Song (Eliscu/Rose/Youmans)
Personnel: Rick McLaughlin: bass; Greg Burk: piano; Jeremy Udden: saxophones.