154

David Berkman: Communication Theory

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
The difficult thing about David Berkman’s music is categorizing it. The second outing under his name cannot be pinned down to a specific line of musical tradition, musical artists, or styles. He is as much about a 21st century Brooklyn as he is about Andrew Hill and Wayne Shorter. Although this is a piano-led album, I got the feeling from the opening track “Blutocracy (Blues For Bluto)” that it was conceived from Ornette’s piano-less quartets. Even though his piano backs the rhythms, the song is an open form with drummer Brian Blade pushing the saxophone improvisation.

Like his critically lauded 1998 disc Handmade with Tom Harrell and Steve Wilson, Berkman chose top-notch musicians for his second outing. With an intact rhythm section of bassist Ugonna Okegwo and Brian Blade, Berkman has a foundation for his sound. Blade, a rising star and truly original voice, is especially suited to Berkman’s musical vision. Assembled here is a three-saxophone front line of Chris Cheek, Sam Newsome, and Steve Wilson. This rather novel approach allows for combinations of harmony, cutting, call-and-response, and soloing.

His beautiful waltz, the “Really Little Waltz,” sung by Sam Newsome’s soprano, reminds one of both Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck. He works the saxophonists like the World Saxophone Quartet or 29th Street Saxophone quartet (minus one) on the jaunty “Interesting, Perhaps, But Hardly Fascinating Rhythm” creating the highlight of the session. Berkman’s ballads are memorable too, “Remission” and “Colby” both patient and satisfying. Sometimes I heard Monk, other times Miles early writing or Herbie Hancock. If David Berkman is beyond category, it is because he is a truly original voice.

Track List:Blutocracy (Blues For Bluto); Colby; Interesting, Perhaps, But Hardly Fascinating Rhythm; Blue Poles; Communication Theory #1; Really Little Waltz; Weird Knock; Communication Theory #2; Back In The 90’s; Remission; No Crosstalk; Communication Theory #3.


Title: Communication Theory | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Cristal Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Clockwise / The Music of Cedar Walton" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwise / The Music of Cedar Walton
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Oaktree" CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "50" CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Live at Nectar’s" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Nectar’s
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Lacy Pool_2" CD/LP/Track Review Lacy Pool_2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5
by Doug Collette
Published: October 19, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.