4

Rob Derke & The NYJAZZ Quartet: Blue Divide

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Rob Derke & The NYJAZZ Quartet: Blue Divide Saxophonist Rob Derke—the man behind the jazz-promoting nonprofit known as the NYJAZZ Initiative—significantly widened his reach with Mad About Thad (Jazzheads, 2011). That album, a finely sculpted tribute to the great trumpeter-composer Thad Jones, helped to shine a light on Derke's organization and brought more deserved attention to the music of a dearly departed legend. Now, this man with a mission returns as part of an extremely capable quartet that he considers to be "the backbone of the NYJAZZ Initiative."

On the aforementioned Jones tribute, a midsize outfit with plenty of horns fleshed out the music, sticking to the loyal-but-tweaked script(s) and adding personalized inflections to the songs at hand. Here, Derke and company write the scripts and take more liberties within them. Derke employs the same bottom-end entities on both discs, using the fluidly flexible and fierce Eric McPherson on drums and the spry-and-sly Carlo De Rosa on bass, but their open and playful qualities are far more apparent here. Pianist Aruan Ortiz—the fourth man and the only one not involved with the Jones project—proves to be every bit as demonstrative and daring as the rest. He adds splashes of dissonance and delivers angular-yet-melodic discourse when the temperature and tempo are running hot.

The material—six originals, a Herbie Hancock number that figured into Bertrand Tavernier's Round Midnight (Warner Bros., 1986), and a brief, freely improvised introduction to the whole thing—is mostly first rate. The album opens on the aforementioned searching "Prelude," but structure sets in on De Rosa's blues-based "Pasillo Azul." The quartet dials it down a few notches for Derke's tribute to saxophonist Davey Schildkraut ("Davey's Dreams"), but that number proves to only be a temporary respite. Tension and drive prove to be paramount on the follow-up track ("Dispossession"), which features some inspired solo volleying between Derke and Ortiz.

The second half of the album finds De Rosa up front on one of his own tunes ("Knowing"), Derke honoring his daughter through song ("G's Waltz"), and Ortiz leading the way into a slow-and-dreamy reading on a Hancock beauty ("Still Time"). Rather than end on a peaceful note, Derke and company return to the fray one last time with the propulsive "Taksim." It proves to be a fine and feisty way to finish.

Track Listing: Prelude; Pasillo Zaul; Davey's Dreams; Dispossession; Knowing; G's Waltz; Still Time; Taksim.

Personnel: Rob Derke: soprano saxophone; Aruan Ortiz: piano; Carlo De Rosa: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Zoho Music


Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana" CD/LP/Track Review Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Undertaker Please Drive Slow" CD/LP/Track Review Undertaker Please Drive Slow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Jinja" CD/LP/Track Review Jinja
by James Nadal
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Old Door Phantoms" CD/LP/Track Review Old Door Phantoms
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "El Barranco" CD/LP/Track Review El Barranco
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!