414

Chris Cheek: Blues Cruise

Matt Merewitz By

Sign in to view read count
Chris Cheek: Blues Cruise Even though he has turned in one stunning performance after another on albums by Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, Guillermo Klein's Los Gauchos and various lesser-known, though equally interesting ensembles, Chris Cheek is still a lurker.



Your only good chance of seeing this reedman live is in New York or on the other side of the pond, where he makes frequent tours. The problem has nothing to do with Cheek's playing. It's the game: labels, distributors, publicists, writiers, editors. Nevertheless, Blues Cruise did get to me by some freakish fluke, and I've gotten to savor its pleasing variety of textures and styles.

The erstwhile Brad Mehldau Trio is the backing band on Blues Cruise. Cheek couldn't have asked for a more empathetic and sensitive rhythm team for this program, which ranges from the calypso-tinged "Flamingo to the soft Rhodes-laden bossa-tango "Coo and the folk rock-informed "John Denver, which actually sounds like a convincing jazz version of what would otherwise be a rock song with electric guitars and bass.



The title of this release would seem to imply that the tunes center around the blues, but they don't, really. Some have a bluesy flavor. But it seems to be more about the journey. The soprano ballads have a searching quality, while the tenor romps are more declaratory.

The saxophonist's rich tone is the most notable constant throughout the record. It has a richness and flavor that's akin to a fine wine or cigar. The vivacity and frolicking quality of Cheek's breathy tenor owe much to the influence of Sonny Rollins, while his rhythmic flair draws equally from Eddie Harris. Comparisons to Chris Potter and Donny McCaslin also come to mind, but without all the shrieking and pyrotechnics.



This record is a testament to the fact that no matter how far any player may be from the media limelight—and consequently the public consciousness—a great soloist coupled with a terrific backing band can make for some of the freshest music you've ever heard.


Track Listing: Flamingo; Low Key Lightly; Coo; Squirrelling; Song of India; Falling; Blues Cruise; John Denver; The Sweetheart Tree.

Personnel: Chris Cheek: saxophones; Brad Mehldau: piano, Fender Rhodes, electric keyboard; Larry Grenadier: bass; Jorge Rossy: drums, hand percussion.

Title: Blues Cruise | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "We Are The World" CD/LP/Track Review We Are The World
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Good 'n' Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story" CD/LP/Track Review Good 'n' Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings" CD/LP/Track Review The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings
by Doug Collette
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Unspoken" CD/LP/Track Review Unspoken
by Andrew Luhn
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Iridescent Clouds" CD/LP/Track Review Iridescent Clouds
by James Nadal
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Live From Jazz at the Bistro" CD/LP/Track Review Live From Jazz at the Bistro
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 15, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.