This trio of pianist Georg Graewe, cellist Ernst Reijseger and percussionist Gerry Hemingway was an active aggregate in the early '90s. They slowed down towards the end of the decade and, prior to this album, had not released anything since 1999. Graewe's pianism is as protean as it is beautiful, and he does much to make this seminal trio's return the undeniable success that it is. He doesn't so much helm or control the group as he allows his multifaceted approach to the piano to embody its aesthetic.
But then, action and reaction are two sides of the same coin. In the second part of this suite, to cite only one example of Graewe's reactive and proactive tendencies, he augments and subverts a rhythmic pattern established by Hemingway and Reijseger, with the simple tactic of adding a slower layer. Registrally close, if not in immediate proximity, to Hemingway's celesta and Reijseger's plucked cello, Graewe begins with one note, then brings in another, allowing the texture to bloom and slowly expand. It is a truly magical moment.
It is counterproductive to single out any one member of this trio as some kind of leader. As much now as ever, the group thrives on unity in diversity, on each member's willingness to do what is outlined above. Hemingway's playing is at its most subtly inventive, a huge contrast to, say, his work with Braxton, but no less inventive. Reijseger lives in two worlds, maintaining an open-door policy between tonality and cluster, both making memorable appearances throughout this riveting set.
It is extremely gratifying to hear these three masters of spontaneous composition (not to mention more conventional forms of composition!) in documented communication again after too long a pause. Winter & Winter says that three hours of music were recorded. Not to appear greedy, but might another disc be hidden in there somewhere?
Track Listing: Continuum Phase One through Ten.
Personnel: Georg Graewe: piano; Ernst Reijseger: cello; Gerry Hemingway: drums, percussion, marimbaphone, celesta.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.