Tenor saxophonist Peter Sommer is at the Crossroads with Rich Perry (tenor saxophone), Eric Gunnison (piano), Ken Walker (bass) and Todd Reid (drums), as they parlay a selection of standards and originals into an interesting journey through focus and commitment.
Sommer is not apprehensive in reshaping a standard and taking it in a new direction. In doing so, he raises the stakes in tandem with Perry. The contrast in their styles makes it all the more entertaining.
"Dance Cadaverous" is one of the more challenging pieces on the album. Sommer navigates the harmonic gates with precision; his ideas simmer and keep the glow long after he has handed the skein to Walker, who nudges the pulse ever so gently to open up a different vista. Collaboration is the calling card of the band and Gunnison does his part by illuminating the tune with notes that soak in the melody before he moves off at a tangent in search of new pasture. Perry completes the circle with warm phrases that throb with passion.
The mood changes for the infectious "Carpe Coffee." The tempo is light and flexes the beat as Sommer lets his horn swing and sway it nicely. His forward thrust adds to the impact but he keeps the whole within a modulated dimension. Gunnison turns in quick turns of line and phrase but as is his wont, gives the melody plenty of room. Reid completes the circle with a crisp bed of rhythm and colorful accents.
Perry and Sommer play off each other as they head into "Alone Together." When two protagonists come together and then spark divergent phrases, the result is riveting. So it is here, before they go their separate ways to swing with a controlled abandon on a bebop adventure.
Sommer and his band make this a pleasing mainstream effort with their sparkle and energy.
Track Listing: Escapade; The Fruit; Dance Cadaverous; Think of One; Shoshin; Carpe Coffee; Alone Together; 'Round Midnight.
Personnel: Peter Sommer: tenor saxophone; Rich Perry: tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4-8); Eric Gunnison: piano; Ken Walker: bass; Todd Reid: drums.
I love jazz because it expresses things so deep that I can't transform in words.
I met John Pizzarelli.
The best show I ever attended was MASP in São Paulo Brazil.
The first jazz record I bought was a Baby Dodds CD.
My heroes on drums: Papa Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, Gene Krupa, Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton, Ray Bauduc, Vernell Fournier,
Shelly Manne, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Morello, Daniel Humair, Kenny Clarke, Sonny Carr, Buddy Rich, Sam Woodyard, Cozy Cole,
Sonny Greer, Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Tony Sbarbaro, Vic Berton, Edison Machado, Milton Banana, Rubens Barsotti.
My heroes in jazz: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson,
Barney Kessel, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Jelly Roll Morton.