The dreamy "Beyond Sunday" opens this recording and sets the pace for the whole album. Whilst leader Jorge Rossy
is better known as a drummer, especially with Brad Mehldau
's trio with whom he's made a dozen records, he's only playing vibes here. Meanwhile the drumming is taken care of by the legendary Al Foster
. Whilst this quintet line-up isn't quite the same, the overall approach is not a million miles from the artful and reflective Modern Jazz Quartet
. The MJQ did occasionally record with saxophonists such as Ben Webster
, Sonny Rollins
and Jimmy Giuffre
so the comparison is not so far-fetched. The saxophonist here is the inestimable Mark Turner
whose elegant tenor contribution to "Sleepin' In" acts as a counterweight to Rossy's deft vibes.
Without a John Lewis
on piano, the absence of a full-chordal instrument is more than compensated for by the excellent Jaume Llombart
on guitar who, like Rossy, hails from Barcelona. The quintet is completed by the solid support of Doug Weiss
on bass, a long-time associate of Foster. Rossy has written all but three of the tunes and they're good ones, such as the angular "Trust?" which showcases Turner's lithe saxophone. On the perky "Sativa," Llombart demonstrates his versatility in accompanying and soloing which is both refined and tasteful, channelling the judiciousness and imagination of the late, great Jim Hall
. Foster's Latin-esque "Kierra" spices-up the repertoire and includes a vibrant bass solo from Weiss. Rossy's ballad "Dusk" is a carefully-constructed lesson in restraint with Turner's tenor stating the theme, and a sparkling vibes solo ensuing.
The closer is Thelonius Monk
's boppy "Introspection" and on this, as throughout, Foster adds vital percussive colour, ranging from the lightest of cymbal touches and brushed snare to irresistible full-on kit work. Rossy made a conscious decision to change from drums to vibes, via previous stints on trumpet and piano, determining that his latest instrument was just the right consolidating vehicle to incorporate all the characteristics of the preceding ones. Judging by this CD it was a very good decision indeed.
Beyond Sunday; Sativa; Kierra; Dusk; Joe’s Dream; Sleepin’ In; Cold; Trust?; Douglas; Introspection.
Jorge Rossy: vibraphone; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Jaume Llombart: guitar; Doug Weiss: double
bass; Al Foster: drums.