Uri Caine: Blue Wail

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Simply put, Pianist-Composer Uri Caine is one of today’s premier and authentic jazz stylists. A true Renaissance Man, Caine has successfully tackled Classical Composers such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Wagner while in the process, integrating and conceptualizing his unique personal vision and artistry. Caine’s notoriety stems from his involvement in the cutting edge New York City Downtown Scene. As an accompanist or leader, Uri Caine’s unmistakable signature style has garnered accolades and well-deserved recognition. On “Blue Wail”, Caine reinvents his roots with Drummer Ralph Peterson Jr. and Bassist James Genus. This Piano Trio packs a fierce punch and often goes for the jugular while Caine and his world class rhythm section take the listener on a whirlwind tour of his original compositions sans Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose”.

Caine opens and closes the set with jovial solo Piano treatment of Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose” otherwise the pace is generally rapid and frequently commands the listener’s immediate attention. On “Loose Trade” Caine leads the rhythm section through various tempos and chromatic progressions. Caine’s fluid single note runs provide the thematic understatements while powerhouse drummer Ralph Peterson Jr. alternates with brisk rim shots and segments of muscular backbeats as the heated pace intensifies. Bassist James Genus shows his brilliance and adaptability throughout. Genus is at home whether playing electric bass with Fusion pioneer John McLaughlin or Acoustic Bass with Caine and others. Genus may be the most in demand Bassist in jazz. On “Blue Wail” the evidence is insurmountable. His adept and intricate patterns compliment Caine and Peterson’s rapid time changes and difficult maneuvers. The title cut, “Blue Wail” is an amiable Blues piece as Caine artfully works the motifs into various genres. Here, Caine’ ever so slightly touches on Professor Longhair’s stock and trade New Orleans brand of R&B supplemented by a chorus or two of dissonance and free-jazz. Despite the advances and manipulations, Caine seldom casts the melody aside. Genus’ warm and articulate Bass solo serves as a nice interlude evoking images of being in a smoky nightclub during the wee hours of the morning. “Bones Don’t Cry” is a fierce, yet bouncy Latin theme. Peterson Jr. is on fire, crashing the cymbals, paradiddles galore and amazingly fast bass drum foot-work . Ralph Peterson Jr. may be the modern day link between Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. A polyrhythmic dynamo, Peterson is an inspirational force of nature and generally provokes his bandmates into developing highly energetic interplay and furious swing episodes while maintaining the beat with flair and precision. Many drummers are unable to exercise restraint when called upon; Peterson Jr. balances his musical-rhythmic gifts with finesse and self-confidence. On “Poem For Shulamit” the band takes a much-deserved breather while Caine churns out a smooth airy ballad featuring a pleasing and memorable melody line. This track could serve rather well as a theme for a Hollywood Movie. On “Fireball” the title leaves little to the imagination. TheTrio perform at a maddening pace. Caine’s improvisational prowess and swirling chord progressions are uplifting and eloquently executed.

Winter & Winter’s track record is commendable to say the least. The Allegro Corporation handles distribution in North America but these titles are readily obtainable via the Internet and at finer Record Stores. Uri Caine’s “Blue Wail” is easily one of the top picks of 1999 thus far. It’s brash, consistently appealing and profoundly stimulating. The listener is treated to a fascinating and engaging spin on an old tried and true format. This Piano Trio reworks concepts and attitudes that in the recent past have seen some elements of stagnation. This one works in splendid fashion! Highly Recommended.

| Record Label: Winter & Winter | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Louisiana Soul Revival featuring Doug Duffey" CD/LP/Track Review Louisiana Soul Revival featuring Doug Duffey
by James Nadal
Published: May 16, 2016
Read "Tiresia" CD/LP/Track Review Tiresia
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Hearts & Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Hearts & Minds
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!