182

Gerry Hemingway: Double Blues Crossing

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Gerry Hemingway: Double Blues Crossing Double Blues Crossing is actually two records in one. The first is a set of five related tracks carrying the record's title, which together could easily be a soundtrack to a short movie of the story that is presented in the liner notes. The Buddy Luckett and Joe Cracklin named in the tracks are characters in the story of a mysterious death in the poor South told by Rosa Abigail to the narrator, who just might be Hemingway himself.

The music is very dramatic and creates images, as a good soundtrack should, of darkness, mystery, wet fields and black water. The music makes sparing use of Hemingway's electronic sampler, mixed with both musical and non-music sounds from the quintet of Frank Gratkowski (reeds), Wolter Wierbos (trombone), Amit Sen (cello), Kermit Driscoll (acoustic and electric bass) and Hemingway himself (drums, marimba). Somehow it manages to hint at the deep South and the Blues, without an overt sustained rhythm or exposed blue note.

"Don't Melt Away, Pts. 1 & 2" especially can be heard as some kind of bizarre New Orleans funeral march lead by the trombone, which fits the place, but it's played in anything but the correct style; and yet, somehow, it feels to be from that city, maybe from a cemetery. Then again, this might all be projection on my part.

The music can successfully be separated (admittedly with some effort) from the story and even from the track titles, leaving material which could be used for a modern ballet. The dancers would be filling in with movement the drama which is already present in the music.

The three remaining tracks, while not part of the official story, manage to stay in the mood, without ever screaming the blues or the South. "Rallier" is a kind of shout for trombone that wails over cool walking bass and subtle but propulsive drumming. "Night Town/Tent," the longest and most abstract track, is more atmospheric than anything else. "Slowly Rising" again somehow evokes the feel of the small town South with its simple string double stops, hopping rhythms and oscillating harmony.

Double Blues Crossing grabs the listener's attention and maintains its hold throughout by hinting at substance enshrouded by shadow. There are no real melodies, but collective sounds that shift and change, creating moods and impressions. In the end, it is a rewarding trip for anyone who dares drift down the river in the black of the night.

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.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Between the Lines | Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960 CD/LP/Track Review Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Chapter Five CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read The Hive CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Liquid Melodies" CD/LP/Track Review Liquid Melodies
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Colors for the Masters" CD/LP/Track Review Colors for the Masters
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Lookin' East" CD/LP/Track Review Lookin' East
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Collage of Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Collage of Moments
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "The Dreamer Is the Dream" CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Montréal" CD/LP/Track Review Montréal
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 11, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!