The Portland, Oregon-based Bridge Quartet is a group of hard-swinging musical daredevils who play with ultra-modern sensibilities. The ensemble consists of drummer Alan Jones, pianist Darrell Grant, bassist Tom Wakeling and Canadian saxophonist Phil Dwyer. Their debut release, Day
, contains fresh takes on well-worn standards like "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "Where or When" and "Milestones," along with enticing original material.
With an emphasis on group interaction, each of the disc's eight tracks bubbles over with an abundance of dynamic intensity. Jones' lengthy "Exidence" is an enticing exploration of rhythmic and harmonic complexity. Dwyer displays confident lyricism, patiently awaiting a torrent of emotional outpouring for the tune's ending. Other highlights include a rather pensive reading of Rodgers and Hart's "Where or When," featuring meandering solo turns by Dwyer and Grant, and a burning take on Sonny Rollins' "Strode Rode," displaying the individual prowess of the entire band. Jones' bombastic maneuvers are nothing short of sensational. For all of the fire and invention heard in Dwyer and Grant, it is Jones' prodding and poking that brings out the best in each soloist.
The level of musicianship among these four stalwarts is obvious. What's more impressive, however, is the sensitive, open-ended camaraderie within the band that elevates the music to an insightful level of jazz expression.