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Ben Perowsky: Bop On Pop

Mark Corroto By

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Frank Perowsky says to his son “Ben, how about a nice game of catch.” If you think of football as brother against brother knocking heads, then baseball is a game of fathers and sons. On Bop On Pop we get a nice game of catch, as Ben, Frank and Sam Yahel toss the old standards around.

Drummer Ben Perowsky grew up playing jazz in New York with his father, a veteran of the bands of Woody Herman, Roland Hanna, Thad Jones, Buddy Rich, and Liza Minelli. Ben went on to play with such Downtown groups as Dave Douglas, Chris Speed, the Lounge Lizards, and Lost Tribe. He has also dabbled in rock, Elysian Fields and electronica, Liminal.

This trio with up-and-coming organist Sam Yahel (whose latest work has been with Joshua Redman and Brian Blade in YaYa3 ) breaks no new ground. The trio is satisfied with a nice game of catch. But who is complaining?

This discs reminds one of Joe Lovano’s Hometown Sessions (1986) with Tony Lovano. The trio stick to the hippest music Frank’s generation (and perhaps of all time) ever played. They focus on Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and their bop standards. Although nothing is taken lightly, it’s a marvel how light each musician’s touch is. Frank handles the tenor with ease on the opener “Vierd Blues” and Yahel’s speed is evident on Fats Waller’s “The Jitterbug Waltz.”

Ben has shown his comfort with outside music, and here he reigns in his drumkit for hip insider action. Sticks, cymbals, and rims are his turf. Everyone plays stylized organ trio jazz without the kitchy lounge irony.

The hipness factor rises with Frank’s clarinet work. On both Horace Silver’s “Quicksilver” and especially Charlie Parkers' “Donna Lee” he vaults the clarinet into musical territory normally reserved for the alto saxophone. With Ben coaxing him by way of some nifty brushwork, Frank negotiates some tricky territory.

The disc ends with the drum/saxophone duo “Four.” The intensity gets turned up several notches as the father and son move from soft lobs to fastballs.


Track Listing: Vierd Blues, The Jitterbug Waltz, Quicksilver, All of You, My Foolish Heart, Star Eyes, Confirmation, Donna Lee, Four

Personnel: Ben Perowsky, drums; Frank Perowsky, saxophone and clarinet; Sam Yahel, organ

Title: Bop on Pop | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: JazzKey Music


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