Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

596

Gerry Hemingway: Double Blues Crossing and The Whimbler

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count








Gerry Hemingway
Double Blues Crossing
Between the Lines
2005


Gerry Hemingway
The Whimbler
Clean Feed
2005


It'd be too easy to make drummer jokes (How can you tell when a drummer's at the door? The knocking keeps getting faster.), but there might be some relevance to it. Hemingway possesses some talent many percussionists lack, some nebulous quality that keeps so many from being strong composers and bandleaders. The fact of it has long been apparent - at least since the '80s, when he played in the trio Bass Drum Bone with Ray Anderson and Mark Helias and was made inarguable by his 1999 Tzadik disc Chamber Works. But what that quality is makes a bit more sense with his release Double Blues Crossing. Not for the music so much as the two paragraphs of prose in the liner notes. Apart from being a gifted percussionist, it turns out, Hemingway has a knack for storytelling. The little scene unfolds elegantly and shines a light on what makes him a composer. It's all about pacing and using the right number of adjectives and whether it's sticks or a pen in his hand, Hemingway possesses a novelist's grace.



In that respect, he is something akin to fellow drummer Jerry Granelli. While "telling a story is a jazz cliché, many confuse that with hollering on a soapbox. Blues Crossing - recorded in Lisbon with an international band (German reed player Frank Gratkowski, Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos, Swedish cellist Amit Sen and American bassist Kermit Driscoll) - is a sweeping-yet-subtle piece of storytelling. From abstract electronic segments to beautifully composed interludes and swinging horn passages, it's a long ride. As with Granelli's A Song I Thought I Heard Buddy Sing, the titles read like chapters and the music sets scenes, like what a novel would be if there were no characters in it.



The Whimbler, released by the Portuguese label Clean Feed (Portugal seems to be doing good for Hemingway), is more of a New York tale. With Ellery Eskelin on sax, Herb Robertson on trumpet and Helias on bass, it's more anecdotal than linear, more a collection of short stories than a novel. What's most remarkable about the disc is the ground they cover. Each of the players slips in and out of solo and support with ease, creating a variety of moods and never acknowledging the constraints of a horn/rhythm lineup. Where Blues Crossing is almost epic in its scope, Whimbler rushes around but still conveys place and scale - like how Fifth Street feels different from Sixth Street, but they both feel like the Village, like an afternoon whimbling around New York.


Tracks and Personnel

Double Blues Crossing

Tracks: a. Buddy Luckett's Dream By The Dry Grass Pt.1, b. Where The Once Never Blues; Buddy Luckett's Dream By The Dry Grass Pt.2; Don't Melt Away Pt.1&2; It Ain't Slippery But Its Wet; Joe Cracklin Left This Before The River Got Him; Rallier; Night Town/Tent Slowly Rising.

Personnel: Gerry Hemingway: drums, marimba; Frank Gratkowski: reeds; Wolter Wierbos: trombone, Amit Sen c; Kermet Driscoll: bass.

The Whimbler

Tracks: Waitin; Rallier; The Current underneath; Pumbum; The Wimbler; Spektiv; Curlycue; In the distance; KimKwella.

Personnel: Ellerry Eskelin: tenor sax; Gerry Hemingway: drums; Herb Robertson: trumpet; Mark Helias: bass.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Megaphone
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Profiles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Grey Matter

Grey Matter

NoBusiness Records
2014

buy
Kernelings

Kernelings

Auricle Records
2014

buy
Riptide

Riptide

Clean Feed Records
2011

buy
 

Inbetween Spaces

Auricle Music
2011

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read The Grammys' Failure To Recognize 2018's Greatest Rock Records Multiple Reviews
The Grammys' Failure To Recognize 2018's Greatest Rock Records
By John Bricker
February 16, 2019
Read Stefan Pasborg: A Drummer’s World of Vinyl Multiple Reviews
Stefan Pasborg: A Drummer’s World of Vinyl
By Jakob Baekgaard
February 5, 2019
Read Big Star: Live-r Than They Ever Were Multiple Reviews
Big Star: Live-r Than They Ever Were
By Doug Collette
February 2, 2019
Read Allison Miller: Modern Jazz Icon in the Making Multiple Reviews
Allison Miller: Modern Jazz Icon in the Making
By Doug Collette
February 1, 2019
Read Winter 2019 Multiple Reviews
Winter 2019
By Doug Collette
January 26, 2019
Read Stephan Thelen and Sonar: Minimal Grooves at Maximum Volume Multiple Reviews
Stephan Thelen and Sonar: Minimal Grooves at Maximum Volume
By Geno Thackara
January 12, 2019