Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

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

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Gold
by Jim Olin
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Plays Hendrix" CD/LP/Track Review Plays Hendrix
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 10, 2017
Read "Due North" CD/LP/Track Review Due North
by Doug Collette
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "Like Songs Like Moons" CD/LP/Track Review Like Songs Like Moons
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "Reclamation" CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!