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...

217

George Schuller's Circle Wide: Like Before, Somewhat After

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
On Like Before, Somewhat After, drummer George Schuller reconvenes his group Circle Wide, last heard on its 2003 Playscape debut Round 'Bout Now, a tribute to the pre-fusion electro-acoustic work of Miles Davis. Once again tapping the 1970s for inspiration, Schuller delves into the discography of pianist Keith Jarrett's classic American Quartet, which featured Dewey Redman (reeds), Charlie Haden (bass) and Paul Motian (drums).

Criminally underrated, Jarrett's American Quartet embraced the diversity of its time, seamlessly blending numerous genres and styles with a sublime virtuosity on par with the classic small groups of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Schuller's tribute sheds new light on Jarrett's seminal work, making Like Before, Somewhat After a vibrant homage.

Embracing the lyricism inherent in Jarrett's writing, Schuller's ensemble offers one of the most euphorically adventurous albums in recent memory. Expounding at length on the pianist's folksy themes, the ensemble breathes new life into these enduring melodies.

Saxophonist Donny McCaslin's rugged contributions reinforce his well-deserved status as a star on the rise. Channeling Redman's robust lyricism and angular attack without resorting to imitation, his circuitous salvos on "Rotation" and "The Survivor's Suite, Part Two" unfurl with Coleman-esque logic.

Chameleonic guitarist Brad Shepik unveils a multi-hued palette, from the funky wah-wah fueled oscillations of "Common Mama" to the scorching ascension of "The Survivor's Suite, Part Two." Together, Shepik and McCaslin spin an electrifying web of sound that undulates with bold, lyrical cadences.

Tom Beckham's scintillating vibes provide a sturdy harmonic foundation on an array of tunes, from atmospheric modal exoticism ("Survivor's Suite, Part One") and soulful gospel fervor ("De Drums") to funky Latin workouts ("Common Mama"). Bassist Dave Ambrosio deftly navigates Schuller's fluidly shifting rhythms, with occasional help from percussionist Jamey Haddad.

Effortlessly moving between freedom and formal structure, Circle Wide embraces the same malleable, inside-outside aesthetic that the American Quartet excelled at. Jarrett's compositions are stretched, re-arranged and re-imagined without distorting their foundation, demonstrating their timeless appeal. Schuller's two original dedications, "Dew Point" and "Back To School" reveal lessons learned, unfolding with a lyrical economy and adventurous spirit worthy of their inspiration.

Like Before, Somewhat After invokes the bittersweet intensity of Jarrett's formative work, making this richly rewarding tribute one of Schuller's most beautiful and accessible albums.


Track Listing: Dew Point; Common Mama; The Survivor's Suite, Part One; The Survivor's Suite, Part Two; Rotation; De Drums; Back To School; Encore, b.

Personnel: George Schuller: drums, bells, percussion, other rattly things; Donny McCaslin: tenor and soprano saxophones, alto flute; Brad Shepik: guitar; Tom Beckham: vibes; Dave Ambrosio: bass; Jamey Haddad: percussion (2-4, 6, 7).

Title: Like Before, Somewhat After | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Listen Both Ways

Listen Both Ways

Playscape Recordings
2012

buy
Like Before, Somewhat After

Like Before, Somewhat...

Playscape Recordings
2008

buy
'Round 'Bout Now

'Round 'Bout Now

Playscape Recordings
2004

buy
Round 'Bout Now

Round 'Bout Now

Playscape Recordings
2004

buy
Jigsaw

Jigsaw

482 Music
2004

buy

Shop

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

Related Articles

Read New American Songbooks, Volume 2 Album Reviews
New American Songbooks, Volume 2
By Karl Ackermann
February 19, 2019
Read Live At JazzCase Album Reviews
Live At JazzCase
By Troy Dostert
February 19, 2019
Read Eastern Sonata Album Reviews
Eastern Sonata
By James Fleming
February 19, 2019
Read Cannonball Album Reviews
Cannonball
By Rob Rosenblum
February 19, 2019
Read Child Of Illusion Album Reviews
Child Of Illusion
By Don Phipps
February 19, 2019
Read Infection In The Sentence Album Reviews
Infection In The Sentence
By Chris May
February 18, 2019
Read Real Isn't Real Album Reviews
Real Isn't Real
By Phil Barnes
February 18, 2019