All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

339

Gerry Hemingway Quintet: Double Blues Crossing

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
If Gerry Hemingway's other 2005 release, The Whimbler—with his current quartet—presented a surprisingly straight-ahead facet of his music, this quintet album is far more intriguing and, well, strange. Opening to the (sampled) sounds of old-time fiddle-driven folk music, the seven-part title suite sounds like the soundtrack to some yet-to-be-made movie. In his sleeve notes, Hemingway even gives us an intriguing taster that reads like something from Steinbeck, with its characters Rosa Abigail, Buddy Luckett and Joe Cracklin.

Although the suite moves seamlessly between sections, like a soundtrack it is episodic, featuring frequent shifts of mood and tempo. It enhances its atmosphere by integrating sampled material seamlessly alongside composed and improvised music, most obviously bullfrogs and crickets (I think!). The written ensemble passages utilize all of the players to excellent effect, allowing space for their individual voices to be heard but never to dominate. Of the five, Hemingway himself is the least visible, never in the spotlight but always underpinning the band. At its best, as on "It Ain't Slippery But It's Wet, the band achieves the kind of loosely anarchic swing that is very difficult to achieve without becoming too rigid or too loose: the musical equivalent of tightrope walking.

Following the suite, the three remaining tracks present contrasting facets of the quintet. "Rallier allows solo space for individuals, featuring Frank Gratowski on bass clarinet, a barnstormer from Wolter Wiebos on trombone, plus an all too brief solo spot for Hemingway himself, before coming to a climax with a tasty ensemble riff. In complete contrast, "Night Town/Tent is a cool, impressionistic composition with marimba and strings well to the fore. The closer, "Slowly Rising, lives up to its title—with a loping rhythm reminiscent of township jazz and fine interplay between the horns, it smolders without ever quite catching fire.


Track Listing: Double Blues Crossing: Buddy Luckett

Personnel: Frank Gratowski: clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone; Wolter Wierbos: trombone; Amit Sen: cello; Kermit Driscoll: acoustic and electric bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums, marimba, sampler.

Title: Double Blues Crossing | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Between the Lines

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Music of Richard Whiting CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Richard Whiting
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Barefoot Dances and Other Visions CD/LP/Track Review
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor CD/LP/Track Review
Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker CD/LP/Track Review
Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966! CD/LP/Track Review
The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Evidence - Music of Thelonious Monk" CD/LP/Track Review Evidence - Music of Thelonious Monk
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 27, 2017
Read "Jazz Tango" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "In Motion" CD/LP/Track Review In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read "Absence" CD/LP/Track Review Absence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 27, 2018
Read "Our Metier" CD/LP/Track Review Our Metier
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 11, 2018
Read "Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Manhattan
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 1, 2018