50

Charles McPherson: Live at the Cellar

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Charles McPherson: Live at the Cellar Live at the Cellar is a sizzling collection of extended improvisations featuring a Vancouver-made quartet: Charles McPherson (alto sax), Ross Taggart (piano), Jodi Proznick (bass) and Blaine Wikjord (drums). McPherson and band fashion their work for the literati.

McPherson opens hard with Rodgers and Hart's "Spring Is Here." The native of Joplin, Miss. singes the ears with intense improvisation for five minutes, then hands it over for very compelling interplay between Taggart and Proznick before the tune eventually dissipates on the resonance of McPherson's horn.

The alto saxophonist's playing is demanding on drummers; fortunately veteran Vancouver player Wikjord lays down enough complexity to make an entire record of drum parts. As the interplay spreads, Taggart pops chord placements into areas where the drums are otherwise rolling, leaving a resulting work of sounds in perpetual transit.

Apparently, Dizzy Gillespie's "Blue & Boogie" left a medical legacy. Unconfirmed sources claim that band members plunged their heads into ice buckets post-set, as Proznick's hands were reported to have become an autonomous, collective blister and Taggart's piano needed its own treatment afterwards. Wikjord's sticks, meanwhile, perished in the blaze. Typically, McPherson was fine (something like, "Yeah, right on!").

Live at the Cellar tries to be as light in the back half as it tried to be heavy in the first half. In this context, it is hard to pull one's head out of the fire to feel the cool of Irving Berlin's "How Deep is the Ocean." "Manhattan Nocturne" continues to bring the collective pot to a low boil with some great rhythm work. The leader returns to the fore for "Star Eyes," and there is where we are brought full-circle. Can any audience navigate the musical expectations that such a complete reversal demands?

Bop fans can't escape the intensity of McPherson's work. Jazz fans should just try to smoke it. That's what the band did. Live at the Cellar lights it up!

Visit Cellar Jazz on the web.


Track Listing: Spring Is Here; Illusions in Blue; Blue & Boogie; How Deep is the Ocean; Manhattan Nocturne; Star Eyes.

Personnel: Charles McPherson - alto sax; Ross Taggart - piano; Jodi Proznick - bass; Blaine Wikjord - drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Cellar Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Functioning Broke" CD/LP/Track Review Functioning Broke
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Magic Peterson Sunshine" CD/LP/Track Review Magic Peterson Sunshine
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Pineapples and Ashtrays" CD/LP/Track Review Pineapples and Ashtrays
by James Nadal
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Shimmer And Melt" CD/LP/Track Review Shimmer And Melt
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!