213

Loren Stillman: The Brothers' Breakfast; Trio Alto Volume One

By

Sign in to view read count








Loren Stillman
The Brothers' Breakfast
SteepleChase
2007


Loren Stillman
Trio Alto Volume One
SteepleChase
2007




Loren Stillman has emerged from prodigy status into a player of great interest. While using traditional instrumental formats and settings, the altoist has an approach to tunes that sound fresh and different. On both of these recordings - The Brothers' Breakfast a quartet with guitar, organ and drums and Trio Alto Volume One a trio with bass and drums - Stillman displays youthful enthusiasm and a willingness to experiment lightly with textures and sound pictures.

The Brothers' Breakfast is made almost entirely of Stillman originals. Like Monk (whose "Gallop's Gallop is the only cover here), these compositions call for subtle new ways of playing and listening. This novel approach is evident from the start with "Under the Influence . Initially, there is that lovely and disorienting sense of trying to get a foothold in the melody and it kicks in with surprise and revelation. Stillman and guitarist Vic Juris airily solo over a quiet and strong foundation that drummer Jeff Hirshfield and organist Gary Versace lay down. And then Versace himself digs in and finds the dark beauty in the tune. All of the songs take unexpected turns - "Densities redirects the rock feel for example and "Crushed Ice is warm and evanescent - and the instrumentalists seem to be having a grand time.

Stillman's smart compositional style even manifests itself when he's playing other people's music. Trio Alto Volume One has only one Stillman original and it sits well in a program of tunes that might be part of, say, a Charlie Parker gig. Without the chordal instruments, Stillman and his cohorts - Hirshfield again and Steve LaSpina on bass - are free to spin out dramatically and imaginatively. Right away with the opener, "Long Ago and Far Away , Stillman reharmonizes the Jerome Kern melody and it feels like a new tune. The saxophonist regularly finds the riches in the melody but he seems to relish getting there. LaSpina and Hirshfield are both extraordinary trio players and help turn every tune into an adventure. Even Bill Evans tunes that might scream for a keyboard or guitar - "Turn Out the Stars and "Time Remembered - are re-imagined without any loss of essence. And incredibly surprising is "All The Things You Are , in which a brief bass statement of part of the melodic line leads to a Stillman solo that re-assesses the old chestnut and does not remind us at all of the 1000s of jazz interpretations of the tune. These three are locked together - nothing feels superfluous - in sterling reworkings that keep the tunes and the inventive spirit alive.


Tracks and Personnel

The Brothers' Breakfast

Tracks: Under the Influence; Christmas Socks; Johnny Rock; Densities; Crushed Ice; Gallop's Gallop; Folk Song; Deified; Today's Tomorrow Song; The Brothers' Breakfast.

Personnel: Loren Stillman; alto saxophone; Vic Juris: guitar; Gary Versace: organ; Jeff Hirshfield: drums.

Trio Alto Volume One

Tracks: Long Ago and Far Away; Turn out the Stars; Red Cross; The State of the World; All The Things You Are; Time Remembered; What is This Thing Called Love; Body and Soul; The Touch of Your Lips.

Personnel: Loren Stillman: alto saxophone; Steve LaSpina: bass; Jeff Hirshfield: drums.


Shop

More Articles

Read Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2017
Read 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017
Read Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read Duke Ellington on Storyville Records Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017
Read Lee Morgan On Music Matters Multiple Reviews Lee Morgan On Music Matters
by Greg Simmons
Published: March 6, 2017
Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel" Multiple Reviews Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel
by Doug Collette
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Rich Robinson: Solo Reissues" Multiple Reviews Rich Robinson: Solo Reissues
by Doug Collette
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "Five New From Konvoj Records" Multiple Reviews Five New From Konvoj Records
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 16, 2016
Read "Lee Morgan On Music Matters" Multiple Reviews Lee Morgan On Music Matters
by Greg Simmons
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "In Jazz We Trust: On The Politically Inspired Work Of Delfeayo Marsalis and Ted Nash" Multiple Reviews In Jazz We Trust: On The Politically Inspired Work Of...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "Emanem Tidies Up" Multiple Reviews Emanem Tidies Up
by John Eyles
Published: December 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!