The press release accompanying pianist/composer Kerry Politzer's third album professes her love of Brazilian music and straight-ahead jazz. We certainly hear some good examples of her approach to samba, but most of this album is squarely in the category of well developed mainstream jazz in a trio and quartet setting. Politzer is joined by Andrew Rathbun, dividing his time on tenor and soprano sax on half of this album, plus bassist Chris Higgins and drummer George Colligan. (Colligan is perhaps better known as a well-recorded pianist with many albums under his own name.)
Beginning with the frenetic samba "Rhodes Rage," Rathbun takes the lead on tenor sax and navigates the tricky melody line with Politzer skillfully comping for him. When the pianist takes her solo, it displays her fleet-fingered ability to match the speed of this tune with concise statements. On "Paloma," an attractive bossa nova, Rathbun switches to soprano sax and shows a very lyrical approach to the instrument. Both "The End?" and "After The Smoke, Memories" are piano trio ballad tracks; the latter is a post-9/11 commentary.
Andrew Rathbun returns to tenor sax for the complex melody line of the title tune, "Labyrinth," and both he and the pianist skillfully find their way to the center of this maze with their respective solos. "Super Ball" is an up-tempo trio conclusion that includes a sparkling piano statement from Politzer and an opportunity for Colligan on the drum kit.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.