Tom Wetmore: The Desired Effect (2012)
While no two people will hear thisor any albumthe same way, calling this a nine-song program of hard-to-categorize songs delivered by a tight, yet flexible, plugged-in ensemble leaves little room for argument. The two guitars-plus-saxophone(s) frontline may conjure thoughts of recently deceased drummer Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band, but bears little resemblance to that outfit; Wetmore doesn't cover Thelonious Monk or Bud Powell, and his music is never encased in an ethereal rhythmic cocoon. His world is built atop electric piano, which never entered the equation in Motian's group, and his songs occasionally eschew metric consistency, while exhibiting funky filigree. Vamping patterns put the music in a holding pattern in some places, and threaten to bring monotony into view, but the layers and textures spread out around these vamps help keep things interesting.
The band creates a sonic template early on and basically sticks to it for the entire album, but no two pieces sound the same. "Good And Plenty" is a powerful number that highlights the chemistry between guitarists Brad Williams and Justin Sabaj, the understated "Wild Card" gives pause to admire the leader's unobstructed electric piano, and Eric Neveloff paints a bleak picture with his alto saxophone on the album-closing "More Matter."
The Desired Effect is a debut brimming with bold statements, labyrinthine constructs and strong rhythmic undercurrents, marking Wetmore as one to watch out for in the future.
Track Listing: Red Lights; Wild Card; Good and Plenty; A Blessing; The Desired Effect; With Woven Wings; Falling; The Rub; More Matter.
Personnel: Tom Wetmore: electric piano; Jaleel Shaw: alto saxophone (1, 2, 4); Eric Nelveloff: alto sax (3, 5-9), tenor saxophone (4); Justin Sabaj: guitar; Brad Williams: guitar; Michael League: bass; Garrett Brown: drums.
Record Label: Crosstown Records
Style: Modern Jazz