What are the exact parameters of post bop? For a term that’s trundled about as frequently as this one there’s a decided lack of consensus as to its meaning. The phrase itself isn’t much help. ‘After bop’ covers basically everything that followed and arose out of bebop’s beginnings over a half-century ago. Further narrowing reveals that post bop music has connections to bebop but in some way has moved beyond the original boundaries of the music. By this broad definition the music of Eric Person and Meta-Four fit firmly into the framework of post bop. But rather than dwell on the demarcations of what he’s doing, Person dispenses with definitions and turns his attentions to simply making music of lasting quality.
I first encountered Person’s playing on Dave Holland’s “Dream of the Elders” (ECM) and was impressed by his ability to remain lyrical even in the midst of heated improvisation. It’s a talent that served him soundly as a sideman and carries over equally well into his work as a leader. This disc marks his fourth solo disc after a trio of recordings for Soul Note and the first on his own Distinction Records. The quartet featured is Person’s new working unit and is comprised of three other players whose interests are evenly aligned with his own. Moving across a program consisting completely of originals the four players engage in tight interplay that negates their relatively short time together as a group. Person divides his energies between alto and soprano and often shapes beautifully engineered solos that favor the higher registers of his horn. Esposito’s tactful keys serve as swinging support in conjunction with the loose rhythmic accompaniment of Henderson and Strickland. The pianist sounds particularly energized on his own “Personal Blues” which also features strong solos from Person and Henderson. Strickland’s funk-infused traps fuel Person’s “There Will Be Better Days” with a taut syncopation and Person’s silver-toned soprano also locks into the foot-tapping, hopeful groove.
On “Song of September” the band shifts smoothly into ballad mode. Person caresses the melody on alto with a soothing gentleness of spirit that still carries an underlying edge. “This Devotion” alights on a supple bass solo by Henderson before moving into an extended passage highlighting Person’s sprightly soprano and a later interlude by Esposito. “Special Someone” is similarly light hearted thanks to the amicable blend of soprano and piano. The closing title track leaves things off in an open-ended state contributing to the feeling that these are players who have much more to say and will be using future forums to continue their discourse. The piece also contributes to the anticipation that will no doubt presage Person’s next release. With “Extra Pressure” Person and his partners have created another addition to his growing discography worthy of praise and investigation. Anyone with an interest in that dubiously titled style of jazz known as post-bop would be well served by seeking this disc out for perusal.
Track Listing: The Pull/ Fallout/ Personal Blues/ There Will Be Better Days/ Song of September/ This Devotion/ Perfection/ Plummett/ Special Someone/ Constellation-Pictures of Orion/ Extra Pressure.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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