Although this date was recorded in 1990, it has only recently been released on CD. It is a solid effort. Cuber's the leader, and the date is built around his baritone sax. But the sidemen - Joe Locke on vibes, Michael Formanek on bass, Bobby Broom on guitar, Ben Perowsky on drums and special guest Carlos "Patato" Valdez on congas - all contribute inspired performances, too.
Cubism is not "smooth" jazz, but it's certainly got some smoother elements. And it's not outwardly commercial, but it has a certain accessibility and toe-tapping quality that might make it appealing to listeners who are scared off by rawer and more experimental forms of jazz. It's not a Steve Coleman record, and it's not a Sun Ra record, but if you walked into a club today (and remember, this date is more than ten years old) you'd likely agree there's some good playing going on. There's just a little cheese (the "Cool Jerk" funk groove) and everything is played with a good deal of chops, enthusiasm and energy. Cuber adds two classics (Duke Ellington's “In A Sentimental Mood” and Horace Silver's “No Smokin'”) to a lineup of his originals. “In A Sentimental Mood” is an especially good vehicle for Cuber's dusky, warm baritone sax sound. Drummer Perowsky - a fixture on both the downtown and mainstream jazz scenes - is burning on this (relatively) long-ago date. This record could be an interesting artifact for Perowsky fans. His signature voice and power was already apparent in 1990 - although there is a slight hint of the Dave Weckl/fusion drum school madness from which he emerged. Check the Pat Metheny Travels-era cymbal pinging and Lyle Mays-style synth wash on the last track, which was probably written and produced to be radio-friendly (not that there's anything wrong with that). Thankfully, guitarist Bobby Broom stays away from a Metheny-derivative sound.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.