On their third release, the self-titled Tangria Jazz Group
continues to impress. With lots of positive press from the San Francisco Bay Area this trio, led by drummer/composer Sheryl Mebane with keyboardist Simon Rochester and bassist Justin Hellman, is thoroughly interactive and entertaining.
Founded in 1997, Tangria Jazz Group has evolved with its most accessible album to date, with two originals and four standards. Eden Ahbez's "Nature Boy" is a good beginning for the album; a familiar tune that begins with some ruminative piano, morphing from a Latin pace to a tender ballad. Two important jazz standards follow: first, Johnny Carisi's "Israel," followed by John Coltrane's formidable "Impressions," which the group offers in smoking fashion. Two Wayne Shorter tunes are performed: the rarely covered "Isotope" is given a Fender Rhodes treatment by Rochester, while "Black Nile" provides a chance for Mebane to show off her ability to swing.
Two Sheryl Mebane compositions are showcased: "Teach Yourself to Live Elsewhere," where she lays down a bluesy rhythm, and the extended "Bamako Love Walk," with Mebane and Rochester aptly demonstrating their skill with African percussion.
Personnel: Simon Rochester: piano, gankogui (1); Justin Hellman: bass; Sheryl Mebane: drums, djembe (7).