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...

374

Loren Stillman: How Sweet It Is

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Occasionally a totally new CD finds its way to the player, and from the music's very first notes, just totally entrances both mind and body. These magical times are rare, but this is really what jazz is about. Furthermore, a CD that manages to make this kind of impression almost always remains able to over time, even years later. How Sweet It Is is one such effort. It is one of those rare releases that draws one in willingly without demanding anything, yet is so seductive and powerful that time seemingly stops for its duration.

From the opening cymbal work that leads to the deep theme in "Between the Devil and God" played in unison by piano and sax, this music announces that it is anything but "typical." Stillman has that special gift of melody, whereby even a theme that is rolled out slowly seems to have an innate logic which makes it almost instantaneously memorable. In Russ Lossing, Stillman has found a player who matches his feel for that winding line that leads but does not get lost. He many times trails Stillman during a line, sounding like an echo, which is very eerie, even if it is planned (which is unclear).

Scott Lee is an extremely melodic bassist, playing lithe and leaping lines which, although they are in the background, complement both the soloists and Hirshfield's circular and insistent drumming. Together, the rhythm section is propulsive, but in a deceptive way. The music is heavy and deep, ponderous and insinuating, yet manages at the same time to be lilting and flowing.

Of all the tracks, "Meat" and "Meat Snake" stand out the most. Stillman gets a very light and airy alto tone that allows the gorgeous melody of "Meat" to roll out. There are so many ways to hear this, but the mixture of beauty and depth in a ballad is seductive, and it is very easy to hear the inevitable melodic logic mentioned above as well as Stillman's improvisational talents. "Meat" itself would mark Stillman as someone to watch, but then, three tracks later, "Meat Snake" comes along. An ominous bass motive repeats under unearthly chords from Lossing. The mystery and danger continue to build as Lossing's chords get thicker and Hershfield's drumming intensifies as it interplays with Lee's bass, while we wait for Stillman's entrance, which doesn't come until halfway through the nine-minute track. When he does come in, he brings the now familiar theme to a fever pitch.

Joe Lovano said that Stillman's "future is so bright it's almost blinding." How true, and this short essay does not do How Sweet It Is justice.

Track Listing: Between the Devil and God; Happy; Meat; Chicken; How Sweet It Is; Meat Snake; Darling Clementine; Chasing the White Rabbit.

Personnel: Loren Stillman: alto saxophone; Russ Lossing: piano; Scott Lee: bass; Jeff Hirshfield: drums.

Title: How Sweet It Is | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Nagel Heyer Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Evil Olive

Evil Olive

Loren Stillman
It Could Be Anything

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Going Public

Going Public

Fresh Sound Records
2014

buy
 

The Big Eyes

Fresh Sound New Talent
2012

buy
Winter Fruits

Winter Fruits

Pirouet Records
2009

buy
Blind Date

Blind Date

Pirouet Records
2008

buy
Blind Date

Blind Date

Pirouet Records
2007

buy
 

Trio Alto - Volume One

SteepleChase Records
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
by Doug Collette
Published: December 13, 2018
Read The Forest from Above CD/LP/Track Review
The Forest from Above
by John Eyles
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Imaginary Band CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Band
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Night CD/LP/Track Review
Night
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 13, 2018
Read An Ayler Xmas Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
An Ayler Xmas Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2018
Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read "Omara" CD/LP/Track Review Omara
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 3, 2018
Read "Weather Walker" CD/LP/Track Review Weather Walker
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "Open Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Open Heart
by Paul Rauch
Published: October 22, 2018
Read "If You Really Want" CD/LP/Track Review If You Really Want
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "Fundur" CD/LP/Track Review Fundur
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 23, 2018
Read "The Windup" CD/LP/Track Review The Windup
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 3, 2018