All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...


Bob Brookmeyer and Kenny Wheeler: Island

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Veterans Bob Brookmeyer and Kenny Wheeler explore shared sensibilities on Island, a collection that could have fit comfortably in Wheeler’s ECM catalogue, but instead spearheads the resuscitated Artists House label. Although they’ve not recorded together before, they set eachother up and finish eachother’s thoughts like a long married couple. The island in question seems more north Atlantic than Caribbean. While the program tends toward moody mid-tempo tunes, the high level of playing keeps monotony at bay.

The disc opens with “Before the First Time,” and Brookmeyer blowing breathy velvet. Bassist Jeremy Allen echoes and tweaks Brookmeyer’s lines, and when Kenny joins with Frank Carlberg on piano and John Hollenbeck on drums, the thaw is on. Brookmeyer and Wheeler join voices and justifiably show off their tones. Carlberg plays off the time to push the momentum, then it drops back to Brookmeyer and Allen with Hollenbeck whispering on cymbals. By the time Wheeler gets to drive the engine’s warmed up and he delights in sharp turns. Beginning slow and spacious, Wheeler’s “114” coalesces with soulful interplay between the horns. The rhythm section sets it on simmer while Wheeler takes a thrill ride solo. Brookmeyer covers as much ground with fewer notes. The ensemble plays a majestic outro.

“Song for Kenny” gives Wheeler some elegant minors to play through. He states the theme and finds Brookmeyer on the bridge. Their counterpoint gives way to Wheeler’s flowing take, which in turn yields to Brookmeyer’s swinging assessment. The piece ends wistfully. “Upstairs with Beatrice” swings with Brookmeyer telling his story first. Carlberg plays a repetitive line against a quirky drum pattern until Wheeler sails through sweeping everyone along. The arrangement includes some fine unison playing by the horns.

Brookmeyer’s “Island” boasts an exotic melody first stated by Wheeler. The sparse rhythm section leaves Wheeler and Brookmeyer room to trade lines and solo. The band lays out as Carlberg plays a dramatic interlude. Hollenbeck’s cymbals recreate wave song. “Strange One” works a Hollenbecks’s bowed bass and repetitive figure from Carlberg against Wheeler’s flight of inspiration. Brookmeyer turns the melody over while Hollenbeck experiments with odd ambient sounds.

The Brookmeyer/Wheeler collaboration shows two long time players apparently still in ascent.

Track Listing: Before the First Time; 114; Where Do We Go From Here?; Song for Kenny; Upstairs with Beatrice; Island; Strange One.

Personnel: Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone); Kenny Wheeler, trumpet, flugelhorn; Frank Colberg, piano; Jeremy Allen, bass; John Hollenback, drums.

Title: Island | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Artists House


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "The Speed of Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The Speed of Dark
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane" CD/LP/Track Review Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Trio Stonk: Live At Smalls" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Stonk: Live At Smalls
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Wish You Were Here" CD/LP/Track Review Wish You Were Here
by Jim Olin
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Evergreen" CD/LP/Track Review Evergreen
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "Beyond the Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond the Moon
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 12, 2017