Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

190

Loren Stillman: Blind Date

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
After what appears to be an interlude of SteepleChase releases ( Brothers' Breakfast & Trio Alto Volume One, released in 2006 and Trio Alto, Volume 2, 2007), saxophonist Loren Stillman returns to his earlier quartet format with the marvelous Blind Date.

The music on the current release connects directly to Stillman's first three (mature) recordings: How Sweet It Is (Nagel Heyer, 2003), Gin Bon (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2004) and It Could Be Anything (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2005).

While the SteepleChase recordings are recognizably Stillman, even when he plays standards, the music feels conservative from the point of view of chances wished for and taken. With Blind Date, however, all of the assurance, intellect and beauty that originally captivated and built his following, is back on display.

It is now time to stop noting his youth and to realize that such an original compositional voice and musical conception does not come along very often. His saxophone sound is immediately recognizable and is an intimate part of the total musical package that also includes a smooth, slow, watery vibrato.

Stillman's music is highly accessible in that its melodies, however surprising their turns, are extremely logical and have the feel of inevitability about them. The harmony supporting these melodies is soft-edged and floats as if pushed by the musical wind—Stillman cites guitarist John Abercrombie as a strong influence. Finally, his music is rhythmically supple with a pulse that is felt but not at all obvious and which also shifts as the band feels the moment.

Pianist Gary Versace has played and recorded with Stillman in the past, and takes to this music as if it were his own. Completely in control, Versace gets inside this extremely personal music, adding his own personality and color to Stillman's idiomatic compositions.

Stillman's music needs a bottom and a bassist who is comfortable with odd time signatures and phrase lengths, and who can also change rhythmic feels instantly. Drew Gress is a very melodic player who is able to perform the same kind of function that Scott Lee did on the earlier albums, the ability to play a separate line while tying the piano and drums together rhythmically.

Drummer Joey Baron is a bit of a surprise choice in that he is normally thought of as more extroverted than is required here, as demonstrated on Abercrombie's Third Quartet (ECM, 2007). However, he proves to be as perceptive and adaptive as Jeff Hirshfield was on the earlier albums, providing subtlety, grace and drive in equal measure.

The music of Blind Date ranges from the mysterious and faintly dangerous to the overtly, but not obviously, forceful. Thoughtfully presented, with much space between tracks allowing contemplation, this music has the capacity to amaze and seduce the body and the mind.

At once immediately comprehensible and yet very deep, Loren Stillman deserves our full attention.

Track Listing: Blind Date; What Will Other People Think; Etude; Shape Shifter; Theme For A New Regime; Don't Be Too Nice; Major; Legroom; Etude - Reprise.

Personnel: Loren Stillman: alto saxophone; Gary Versace: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Joey Baron drums.

Title: Blind Date | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Pirouet Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Evil Olive

Evil Olive

Loren Stillman
It Could Be Anything

Going Public

Going Public

Fresh Sound Records
2014

buy
 

The Big Eyes

Fresh Sound New Talent
2012

buy
Winter Fruits

Winter Fruits

Pirouet Records
2009

buy
Blind Date

Blind Date

Pirouet Records
2008

buy
Blind Date

Blind Date

Pirouet Records
2007

buy
 

Trio Alto - Volume One

SteepleChase Records
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019
Read Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band Album Reviews
Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band
By Jerome Wilson
May 23, 2019
Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019