Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

187

Drew Gress: 7 Black Butterflies

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Drew Gress throws his contender for year's best in with 7 Black Butterflies, a crackling collection uniting a stellar cast of players who live up to their collective reputation. With Tim Berne, Ralph Alessi, Craig Taborn, and Tom Rainey fully engaged, Gress holds an all-aces hand. His multifaceted compositions provide the tracks for this ride, while the quintet provides the vivid scenery. While Berne, Alessi, and Taborn usually inhabit worlds of sonic phenomena, the simple acoustic setting here spotlights the prodigious pure jazz power each player wields.

Opening with a dizzying panning hiss and Alessi's choked breathy notes, "Rhinoceros lumbers in on Gress' metronome bass. Alessi and Berne harmonize a classic theme only to evaporate, dub style. A tempo change has Taborn and Gress doubling for momentum, urged on by Rainey and Taborn's chording right hand. Alessi and Berne return to fan flames and blow the structure apart. A loose-jointed neo-bop line dances through "Bright Idea, opening for a rubbery solo by Gress. Berne spreads low-register alto butter around the prickly rhythm section, while Alessi flashes through rolling time signatures. Rainey simmers under Taborn's acute chords and melody line.

Taborn plays spaciously heartfelt music on the ballad "Zaftig. Berne moves the tune into a more frenzied direction, replacing wistfulness with passion. With a theme that seems to occasionally tease with a taste of "Salt Peanuts, "Blue on One Side tears along with Taborn and Berne driving, then Alessi plays an inspired and occasionally echoed duet with Rainey. Alessi and Berne slug it out on "Low Slung/High Slung, the clunky riff chugging with occasional ultra stereo dub effects, causing the horns to take flight. Taborn slows it, only to use his right hand to start fires.

Between nasty multi-time grooves and emotionally satisfying reveries, 7 Black Butterflies convincingly applies for a long-term residency in your CD player.


Track Listing: 1. Rhinoceros (8:24); 2. Bright Idea (8:53); 3. New Leaf (5:48); 4. Zaftig (8:37); 5. Bas Relief (0:58); 6. Blue On One Side (6:17); 7. Wing & Prayer (6:12); 8. Low Slung/High Strung (9:00); 9. Like it Never Was (4:28)

Personnel: Drew Gress--bass; Ralph Alessi--trumpet; Tim Berne--alto saxophone; Tom Rainey--drums; Craig Taborn--piano

Title: 7 Black Butterflies | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Premonition Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "To Pianos" CD/LP/Track Review To Pianos
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 10, 2018
Read "Of Tides" CD/LP/Track Review Of Tides
by John Eyles
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Rabble Rouser" CD/LP/Track Review Rabble Rouser
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Flaneur" CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Déjà Vu" CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017