Rob Schneiderman: Edgewise

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
If it seems that Rob Schneiderman has faded into the woodwork lately—instead of remaining active on the New York jazz scene or touring with the likes of J.J. Johnson, George Coleman or Slide Hampton—that's because he has. The woodwork of academia.

Pursuing his Ph.D. in mathematics at Berkeley, Schneiderman thankfully has found the time to record once more as part of the New York Piano Series of Reservoir Records.

This time out, Schneiderman had two seemingly disconnected interests in mind as he recorded Edgewise: Bud Powell and mathematical theory. While it may seem difficult to reconcile those two concerns, the discipline—and the art—of music represent the only opportunity to do so. Consisting as it does of ever-present measurable and notatable temporal measurements, music consists as well of the ever-present human pulse that communicates the artist's intentions to his audience. It may take thousands of words, intellectually written, to describe this connection, but Schneiderman is wise enough just to let the music speak.

It seems that Schneiderman's touch is lighter than Powell's as he incorporates the language of Bud Powell into his own personalized style. Indeed, Schneiderman includes on Edgewise three of Powell's compositions, "Cleopatra's Dream," "I'll Keep Loving You" and "Blue Pearl." And...Schneiderman performs several tunes associated with Powell as well: Oscar Pettiford's "Blues In The Closet" and (from one of Powell's earliest recordings and from his immortal performance on Mingus At Antibes) "I'll Remember April." And...Schneiderman contributes his own composition, "Bud Powell Boulevard," in tribute to one of the geniuses of jazz piano.

With an assured touch, Schneiderman leaves plenty of space for the other members of the trio as well. Interpreting the music with grace and sophistication, the trio shows mutual respect, as great piano trios do, elevating the other's work at the same time that they take their own turns in soloing. That style is set on the first track, "Cleopatra's Dream," with an alternating between the introductory Latin beat and a straight four at the bridge (which reminds the listener of "Autumn Leaves"). In an understated improvisation, Schneiderman makes way for Drummond to lithely develop his own variations on the theme through several choruses. The CD ends in the same manner, re-interpreting "I Remember April" as a beguine before stretching out into a straight-ahead chorus.

In between those numbers, Schneiderman's trio engages the listener with approachable versions of the tunes, "Just One Of Those Things" beginning as a rubato piano introduction over its changes before the swing continues through the rest of the tune. As they vary the approach of "What Is This Thing Called Love," Harper and Drummond back up Schneiderman's first chorus of funk with its minor-keyed suggestions before loosening up at the bridge. And Edgewise loosens up at the end as the trio fades out with the vamp before Drummond exclaims, "Whatever you were going for, you got it!" "I'll Keep Loving You" slows down for a sensitive exploration of Powell's tune, complete with halting accents and cascading notes rippling through the phrases.

One wishes Schneiderman well in his academic pursuits. Based on the clear-visioned maturity of Edgewise, let us hope that he will continue to take time out from mathematical arcanum to record every once in a while.

And to reveal once again, as does every jazz artist, that music remains one of the profound mysteries of the universe.


Track Listing: Cleopatra's Dream, Edgewise, Just One Of Those Things, I'll Keep Loving You, What Is This Thing Called Love, Bud Powell Boulevard, In Walked Bud, Blue Pearl, Blues In The Closet, I'll Remember April

Personnel: Rob Schneiderman, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; Winard Harper, drums

| Record Label: Reservoir Music | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "TriAngular Bent" CD/LP/Track Review TriAngular Bent
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Invisible Man" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Man
by Anthony Shaw
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Bekkenjordet" CD/LP/Track Review Bekkenjordet
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey Baker’s Showplace Lounge" CD/LP/Track Review Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey...
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Eros" CD/LP/Track Review Eros
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by John Kelman
Published: January 6, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus


Support our sponsor

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!