The cleverly titled American Waltz might deserve a more fitting inscription as American Quilt," because woven into the admirably crafted compositions of leader/pianist Josh Rosen are all the elements that are American music.
Rosen, a faculty member at Berklee College of Music, lists Bob Moses, Bennie Wallace, and }}George Schuller}} as performance partners. Besides projects with Ethiopian master musician Mulatu Astake, Stan Strickland, Dave Fox's Adventures In Sound, Bangalore and The Infinite Ensemble, he toured with Ethiopiques and the Either/Orchestra in 2008.
3 Play+'s cofounder is bassist Lello Molinari, another professor at Berklee. The band's progression has led to the current lineup that includes drummer Marcello Pellitteri and trumpeter Phil Grenadier.
The disc opens with the Copland-esque title track, featuring guest guitarist Mick Goodrick's folky sound. When Grenadier steps up for his part, the Americana is fully revealed. This sweet track could easily be identified as a Bill Frisell/Ron Miles collaboration. That feeling is the bookend to the electric-Miles Davis jam of "Bulletrain," a 20 minute-plus workout that moves from freak-out to blues groove, with Goodrick playing host to the overtly casual grooves cut by Grenadier.
In between, the band delivers more tasty American music, such as the Sonny Rollins tribute "Buttah," with tenor saxophonist George Garzone sizzling through with his signature sound. There is a soft ballad, "How Do I Know What I Don't Know?," and a skittering stop/start chase "Be A Battery." Rosen features Molinari and Grenadier on "Happy Cramping," as they chase each other's tails, trading energy through musical gymnastics.
Throughout American Waltz, the compositions and playing are nicely balanced to allow for each to share the spotlight.
American Waltz: Buttah; Happy Cramping; How Do I Know What I Don
Phil Grenadier: trumpet; Josh Rosen: piano; Lello Molinari: bass; Marcello Pellitteri: drums; Mick Goodrick: guitar; George Garzone: tenor saxophone.
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