Metta Quintet: Subway Songs (2007)
The set begins and ends with the collaborative Gross-Schuman compositions, "Morning Rush (stand clear of the closing doors) and "Evening Rush, variations on the same theme that portray a somewhat tense energy-charged commute to work and the more leisurely trip home. In between, songs like Sung's straight-ahead swinging "Fast Forward and Strickland's enigmatic "Ephemeral Muse (spotlighting the composer's bass clarinet) maintain the roller coaster range of emotions. Selections penned by three of the group's contemporaries associated with JazzReach contribute to further the compositional variety of the date. Myron Walden's shadowy "Underground and Jimmy Greene's thoughtful "Underground Messenger make use of subtle saxophone harmonies that showcase the quintet's two horn front line, as does the disc's centerpiece, Jon Cowherd's episodic "Subway Suite. While the overall mood of the music making up Subway Songs may not be as visceral as one might expect from its title subject, its beauty is a moving tribute to a system that serves people from all walks of life.
Track Listing: Morning Rush (Stand Clear of the Closing Doors); Underground; Subway Suite, Pt. 1; Subway Suite, Pt. 2; Subway Suite, Pt. 3; Fast Forward; Underground Messenger; Ephemeral Muse; Evening Rush.
Personnel: Mark Gross: alto sax; Marcus Strickland: tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Helen Sung: piano; Joshua Ginsburg: bass; H. Benjamin Schuman: drums.
Record Label: JazzReach