No leader is given on Anchor Points, simply the names of the four musicians who comprise the group on its debut recording. This is truly a co-op enterprise by jazz artists who have been performing together for a number of years in and around the New York City area.
The studio session is divided roughly in half, with four numbers by a quartet balancing four others by a drummerless trio, a nod to similar groups once led by Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole. Either way, the outcome is splendid, and even though drummer Jay Sawyer is impressive, his presence is barely missed on the trio numbers, as guitarist Alex Levine and bassist Sam Weber handle the rhythmic assignment with assurance.
To sum up, the quartet performs on Weber's "Feint," Levine's "Anchor Points," the Willard Robison standard "Old Folks" and pianist Russell Kranes' lively "Everybody Else But You;" the trio performs on Antonio Carlos Jobim's ballad "Viva Sonhando," the standards "Two Sleepy People" and "I'll Get By," and Billy Joel's rhapsodic "And So It Goes," which rings down the curtain. As every member of the ensemble is a seasoned musician, each number is given maximal care and attention.
Levine's guitar is tasteful and clear, as is Kranes' piano, while Weber and Sawyer stay the course without needless fuss or bother. Sawyer solos smartly on "Everybody Else," Weber on "And So It Goes" and "I'll Get By." If there is a downside (one with which other listeners may readily disagree), it is that the group favors cool at the expense of heat; only"Feint" and "Everybody Else" are taken at a more than moderate tempo. On the other hand, every track has its own distinct pleasures, and Anchor Points serves as an excellent introduction to Messrs. Kranes, Levine, Weber and Sawyer. .
Feint; Vivo Sonhando; Anchor Points; Old Folks; Two Sleepy People; I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You);
Everybody Else But You; And So It Goes.
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