408

Gerald Cleaver: Detroit

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count
Gerald Cleaver: Detroit Detroit, Gerald Cleaver's sophomore release and a tone portrait of the Motor City, further establishes the drummer, best known as a prolific and versatile sideman, as a leader and composer in his own right. A brief photo essay in the liner notes displaying dilapidated buildings and skid-row denizens strikes a melancholy tone, but the music is anything but.

Cleaver's tunes are vigorous and compelling: "The Silly One" has through-composed accents that lend it effortless forward motion; "Henry" has slow moving harmonic pads and a canon-like structure with interesting textures; "Step Three" is upbeat, a nice tune with tasteful touches; the additive rhythms of "Seven Sisters Down" creates the effect of a limping 'waltz'; and the title track, one of the best, has a catchy A-section and intermeshing horn lines in the B-section.

Cleaver culled the talents of JD Allen (tenor), Andrew Bishop (soprano, tenor and bass clarinet), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet, flugelhorn), Ben Waltzer (piano) and Chris Lightcap (bass) to interpret his work and a fine team it is. Bishop's deep clarinet and soprano fill out the tonal canvas; his soprano solo on "Step Three" is both exploratory and cohesive. Pelt is consistently excellent, varying his tone and mood to suit the aesthetic environment, at times modestly underplaying, at others gasping and whooping with dramatic flair. Allen and Waltzer, too, are versatile and empathetic to the needs of the song, the former prone to extended fiery outbursts, the latter typified by chromatically-embellished, thematically-unified improvisations.

Simultaneously mainstream and forward-thinking, self-contained yet open-ended, Detroit embodies the currency and vitality of its namesake's hard bop legacy in today's creative music scene.

Track Listing: Far East; (For wrath kills the foolish man, and envy slays) The Silly One; Henry; Step Three; Dorham; Grateful; Seven Sisters Down; Carla's Day; Found; Pilgrim's Progress; 6350; Detroit (Keep It in Mind); Praise the Lord!.

Personnel: Gerald Cleaver: drums; J. D. Allen: tenor saxophone; Andrew Bishop: soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet, flugelhorn; Chris Lightcap: bass; Ben Waltzer: piano.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Right to Love" CD/LP/Track Review Right to Love
by Jim Olin
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Agartha" CD/LP/Track Review Agartha
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Chamber Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Chamber Jazz
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Beekman Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Beekman Vol. 02
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 23, 2016
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

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!