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Brooke Sofferman: Fine Whines

Dan McClenaghan By

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Boston-based drummer Brooke Sofferman brings a rock and roll level energy to juice up some excellent, intricate mainstream jazz on Fine Whines, his third CD this century on Summit Records. On this quintet effort—two horns and a guitar-driven rhythm section—implacable forward momentum and monster chops, all around, reign.

Jerry Bergonzi is the saxophonist here, and you can put your money down on a superior listening experience if his name shows up on a CD cover. His Tenorist (Savant Records, 2007) showcased—for those who hadn't been listening—an unsung talent with an original and idiosyncratic approach to music making, and proved him one of the very top notch saxophone players on the scene.

Soffereman's drumming style can be called idiosyncratic too—busy and energetic as he and the rhythm team—Bruno Raberg on bass; Norm Zocher, guitar—weave tight tapestries behind Bergonzi and trumpeter Phil Grenadier. The group dynamic is often edgy and turbulent, full of dense textures behind a lot of high octane soloing from Bergonzi, Grenadier and Zocher.

The Sofferman-penned "Metric Monkulation"—he wrote eleven of the thirteen tunes—opens the disc with a churning rhythm, the trumpet and sax solos pushing the limits in front of Sofferman's shifting rhythms. "Fine Whines" is a guitar trio, with Zocher stinging in front of Sofferman's rumbling Elvin Jones-like drum attack. "Cold Train" features Bergonzi on soprano sax, blowing in a loose, fluid atmosphere.

"All Kashmir" blends Miles Davis' "All Blues" with Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir," featuring Bergonzi on a Coltrane-esque soprano solo leading into Grenadier's tangy, stretched trumpet lines. "Glob" showcases Grenadier muted on a solemn, inward-looking tune.

Fine Whines offers up a fresh sound, a compelling modern-leaning mainstream, a finely crafted free bop outing.

Track Listing: Metric Monkulation; Fine Whines; Cold Train; Forhermeto; Are You Sureious?; Some Beach; All Kashmir; Only Two Dimensions; Da Bull Stops Here; Back In The Bidet; Poor Glob; Karmocity; Imperial March.

Personnel: Brooke Sofferman: drums; Jerry Bergonzi: saxophone; Norm Zocher: guitar; Bruno Raberg: bass; Phil Grenadier: trumpet.

Title: Fine Whines | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Summit Records

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