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The presence of Marty Ehrlich on any recording more or less guarantees it will be interesting, innovative, and somewhat enigmatic. Mr. Ehrlich likes to tend toward the modern jazz/avant-garde side. On Line on Love he does not stray far from that esthetic but is still particularly well-behaved, which allows for a stimulating and educational listening experience. Ehrlich is joined by long time collaborators Michael Formanek on bass, Billy Drummond on drums, and Craig Taborn on piano. Collectively, these musicians concentrate on eight exceptional Ehrlich compositions.
Immediately you will note a Phillip Glass tone and rhythm, quietly repetitious and soothing with forays into passionate screams and slurs from Ehrlich’s alto saxophone. "Hymn" receives a hypnotic, almost new age treatment that provides Ehrlich a unique platform from which to weave a spiritual flight of fancy. Here Taborn sets the mood with his churchy piano. Formanek and Taborn form a rhythmic juggernaut that is sensitively provoked by Billy Drummond, best illustrated on the airy ballad "Solace." Marty Ehrlich’s tone is full and sure. He can summon any number of facilities that color his horns’ timbre. My personal hope for the future for Mr. Ehrlich is that he make a duet recording with Uri Caine.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.