All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

310

Rasmus Ehlers featuring George Garzone: As Played by Ear

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
There are certain constellations which seem to bring out the best in an already accomplished musician. Just think of the great rhythm sections of Art Pepper, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, and it's evident that individual mastery isn't all that is required to make magic. A superior sense of group interplay is also needed to aspire to improvisation that reaches beyond the easy effects-laden fireworks of an individual's technical mastery.

Boston-based tenor saxophonist George Garzone has certainly found the right players to trigger the kind of transcendent play he is capable of. He may have had to go all the way to Denmark to find them, but his Danish group's unique chemistry on As Played by Ear proves, without a doubt, that it was worth the logistic trouble.

It has been many years since pianist Rasmus Ehlers, bassist Jonas Westergaard, drummer Jacob Høyer and Garzone first met each other. By now, it is a tradition that the group plays a healthy dose of gigs during The Copenhagen Jazz Festival, and this was also the case in 2009, where they played in front of a receptive audience at the intimate Cafe Bartof. Fortunately their performance was recorded.

It all starts with the collective title composition. Ehlers introduces his angular Monkish playing, mumbling over blocks of chords, creating an oblique waltz that gives way to Westergaard and Høyer's loose, funky pulse. Slowly they build up momentum, and after more than seven minutes Garzone finally bursts into the melodic framework like a tender hurricane, blowing around Ehlers' bouncing rhythms and knotty melodies.

The controlled reading of "Soul Eyes" moves the band into ballad territory, clearly emphasizing the often-mentioned similarities between Garzone and Coltrane. That Garzone is his own man is proven, however, in a beautiful interpretation of his own "Hey, Open Up," which has become something of a signature piece for the group. Here, Garzone's trademarks come into full fruition: inventive chord shifts; a singing sense of modernistic swing; and an uncanny understanding of pause and pulse.

Together, these four musicians create music that is fiery, free and, at times, close to spiritual. This is the case in Ehlers' strong "First Prayer," with Westergaard's thick bass chords. As Played by Ear is as strong a case as can be made for jazz as a listening art form. It is music that glows with dedication and spirit, and those who weren't lucky enough to hear these amazing musicians interact live can now experience the wonder of their playing unfold in crisp stereo.

Track Listing: As Played by Ear; Soul Eyes; Hey, Open Up; First Prayer.

Personnel: Rasmus Ehlers: piano; Jonas Westergaard: bass; Jakob Høyer: drums; George Garzone: tenor saxophone.

Title: As Played by Ear | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Your Favourite Jazz

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read The Berlin Concert CD/LP/Track Review
The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read IMA IMA CD/LP/Track Review
IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Breathe CD/LP/Track Review
Breathe
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Good Music CD/LP/Track Review
Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "The Subject Tonight Is Love" CD/LP/Track Review The Subject Tonight Is Love
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 31, 2018
Read "A Sky You Could Strike a Match On" CD/LP/Track Review A Sky You Could Strike a Match On
by Patrick Burnette
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "90 Going On Amazing" CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow" CD/LP/Track Review Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by John Kelman
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "Bach: Solo Works for Marimba" CD/LP/Track Review Bach: Solo Works for Marimba
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 15, 2017