Scott Colley: Initial Wisdom (2002)
Initial Wisdom is a series of trio and quartet tracks with Bill Stewart who is Colley's drummer of choice from his other sessions, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, and guitarist Adam Rogers. This combination of players absolutely gels throughout. Rogers, a member of the jazz/rock/hip-hop band Lost Tribe, and recently singer Norah Jones, add a rocked-out gusto here. Not that Bill Stewart, a veteran of John Scofield's bands, is unfamiliar with loud jazz. His shuffle beat on "Rubber Clock" kicks off a jam sound favored in rock circles. Colley mixes things nicely here. Tempering the electric guitar with splashes of Rogers' acoustic action. Colley thumps through the funk on "The Susser" an obvious nod to the Brooklyn sounds of his former employer Greg Osby.
Colley exhibits the influence his instructor/idol Charlie Haden has over his playing by covering Ornette Coleman's "Alpha." The trio announces they are playing something else! with the aggressive tenor attack poised by Ravi Coltrane as Colley drives both Stewart and Coltrane onward. For the graybeards, this is the highlight of the recording. The band doesn't just cover Ornette they rekindle the Coleman revolution. Coltrane's horn playing has sounded cautious in the past, here he works both the soprano and tenor to great effect. His tenor sound is getting rounder and broader with age.
Colley penned six of the nine tracks heard here. Besides the modern sound he can move inside shifting moods pleasurably as on "Scorpios" and venture outward on the eerie "Trip," where Rogers showcases varied guitar effects.
This is a stellar effort from a nearly perfect combination of modern players. It bears repeated listening.
Track Listing: The Susser; Scorpios; Far Rockaway; Alpha; Trip; Trouble In Paradise; Barracudas; Eccentric Circles; Rubber Clock.
Personnel: Scott Colley: bass; Ravi Coltrane: soprano and tenor saxophone; Adam Rogers: guitars; Bill Stewart: drums.
Record Label: Palmetto Records
Style: Modern Jazz