There are times when the music on drummer Weinstein’s album is quite pleasant, others when it’s as exasperating and elusive as the abstruse liner notes. The over–arching idea, I suppose, is to present a varied menu, and that is good; on the other hand, some of what is presented is as welcome to me as broccoli or hominy grits. Those whose tastes encompass a wider sphere may look with favor on everything at this banquet table. I prefer the meat and potatoes — “I’ll Remember April,” “Under the Bridge,” “Her Melancholy Piano” and the ballad section of the “Sound Emotion Suite,” the last three of which are among eight compositions by Weinstein (if one counts the suite as three). Tenor saxophonist Cheek, who carries much of the melodic cargo (at least on the more conventional fare), has a warm, almost Getz–like tone that is easy on the ears, but his improvisations are on the whole derivative and unexciting. Guitarist Massias, who can play charmingly when the occasion demands (on “Me! lancholy Piano,” for example), wrote the largely tedious opener, “ICSAWTS.” Completing the session is Ornette Coleman’s “Comme Il Faut,” about which I can’t comment, having never heard the original version, except to say that the slow–moving and meditative work, with its echoes of the Far East, is given a reverential if not particularly absorbing treatment. It precedes the disc’s most agreeable selection, “I’ll Remember April,” a superb chart on which everyone earns high marks. More of that and Sound Emotion would have received a much warmer reception from this reviewer.
Track listing: ICSAWTS; Under the Bridge; Heavy, Heavy; Her Melancholy Piano (for Mercedes Rossy); Fast Blues; Comme Il Faut; I’ll Remember April; Sound Emotion Suite: Fighting, Ballad, Kathy’s Theme; Chevy Chevrolette (59:27).
Personnel: Chris Cheek, tenor saxophone; Elie Massias, acoustic, electric guitars; Masa Kamaguchi, bass; Jimmy Weinstein, drums, percussion.
Contact: GM Recordings, 167 Dudley Road, Newton Centre, MA 02159 (617?332?6328).