170

Billy Lester: Four into Four

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
Billy Lester: Four into Four Four into Four, recorded live at NYC’s Roulette, with its sense of swing and tight rhythms, gives the impression that the Billy Lester Quartet can see for miles, but then those who stand on the shoulders of giants can. Pianist Lester is a self-admitted anachronism who during the ‘50s and ‘60s, while piano jazz evolved modally along the route charted by Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, became a Powell/Tristano and Louis Armstrong devotee. His writing style turns a jazz standard, through chord manipulation and inversion, into new music with fresh improvisations and harmonies. Add to this the dexterously agile trumpet of Simon Wettenhall and this live gig becomes well worth preserving.

The disc’s title is a clever allusion to the 4/4 time signature championed by Tristano and adhered to by the compact rhythm section of bassist Sean Smith and drummer Russ Meissner. While Smith keeps things pumping at a quick pace on these five extended cuts, Meissner is more of a random variable not averse to throwing his bandmates a percussive curve. Such is the case on “Person-L,” based on Gershwin’s “Somebody Loves Me,” as Meissner sets up the changes for creative Lester and Wettenhall solo exchanges. Both frontmen expertly explore their melodic lines but in doing so set up a tenuous tension that makes for interesting repartee that can occur at lightning speed. Lester melodically clips along on “Grasshopper’s Holiday,” hardly pausing as he unobtrusively slips in some antimelodic phrases, before he hands the reins over to Wettenhall, who trumpets his way through some decidedly boppish runs. The remaining cuts continue this precise interplay with Meissner playing all over his drums when given the spotlight. The setting provides fertile ground for Lester’s inventive stylings as he shows that Four can go into Four innumerable ways.


Track Listing: 1. Person-L (9:55) 2. Grasshopper's Holiday (11:05) 3. G-Minor Jazz (8:02) 4. Oso Furioso (7:26) 5. Skip's Bounce (8:39)

Personnel: Sean Smith: Bass; Simon Wettenhall: Trumpet; Billy Lester: Piano; Russ Meissner: Drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Moments in Time" CD/LP/Track Review Moments in Time
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 7, 2016
Read "R Train On The D Line" CD/LP/Track Review R Train On The D Line
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!" CD/LP/Track Review Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Columbia Years 1968-1969" CD/LP/Track Review Columbia Years 1968-1969
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Dobbeltgaenger" CD/LP/Track Review Dobbeltgaenger
by John Sharpe
Published: August 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!

Buy it!