375

Marty Ehrlich: News on the Rail

By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz is a big word. And the jazz world is a big world. In an independent study of mine, I am trying to define just how big that world is. But that's the thing. It's boundless. And not only is it boundless, but musicians are constantly exploring new frontiers, trying things that haven't been tried before. Maybe that's why I love jazz, because I hope that some day I can possess the mindset to do something completely new.

Marty Ehrlich is one of those innovators. For News on the Rail, Ehrlich (alto sax and clarinet) decided on an interesting ensemble: James Zollar (trumpet, flugelhorn), Howard Johnson (tuba, baritone sax, bass clarinet), James Weidman (piano, melodica), Greg Cohen (bass), and Allison Miller (drums). While it's obviously slightly out of the ordinary for a jazz ensemble, the band is highly flexible. And Ehrlich takes advantage of its flexibility to the fullest extent to realize a remarkable compositional achievement. At different times, the band can sound like a straight-ahead bop group, a big band, or a classical ensemble. And it is compelling throughout.

Ehrlich's unique alto sound dominates many of the tunes on this record. "Enough Enough starts the album on a fiery note, with Zollar's trumpet blaring a warning around the theme. Ehrlich's sax soon takes over, beginning in a relatively calm manner, but soon progressing to shouts as his trademark slight overblowing kicks in. Throughout, Cohen's tone and choice of notes are similar to Scott Colley's. The tune ends with a percussive flurry from Miller, whose sheer energy perks up the proceedings.

"Hear You Say is straight funk, with Johnson's tuba adding a malleable feeling to what is usually a fairly muscular bass line. Zollar adds a sleazy New Orleans feel before soloing along with Weidman, this time on melodica. Miller's fairly static drumming gives the other players a foundation on which to improvise.

The band then shifts gears to play "Light In The Morning (Many Thousand Gone), a very classically influenced composition. Chris Potter's little-known "Jazzpar Suite comes to mind. Weidman's effortless but rhythmically melodic solo leads into Weidman's beautiful chorded statement. This is the quietest moment on the record.

"Erica is a big band tune from the start, and the group adapts admirably. The big band morphs into a quintet for the solos. Ehrlich also has a unique sound on clarinet, and his solo swings masterfully. Once again, Cohen's solo seems effortless, but it fits perfectly into the form of the tune.

Overall, Ehrlich has created a unique record. His personal tone, his choice of ensembles, and his remarkable compositions are a joy to listen to. There will be something for everyone on this record. Highly recommended.

Track Listing: Enough Enough; Hear You Say; Light in the Morning (Many Thousand Gone); News on the Rail; Dance No. 2; Erica; Seeker's Delight; Keeper of the Flame (in memory of Sam Furnace).

Personnel: Marty Ehrlich: alto sax, clarinet; James Zollar: trumpet, flugelhorn; Howard Johnson: tuba, baritone sax, bass clarinet; James Weidman: piano, melodica; Greg Cohen: bass; Allison Miller: drums.

Title: News On The Rail | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Palmetto Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Through The Hours" CD/LP/Track Review Through The Hours
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Music From Our Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Music From Our Soul
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2017
Read "Someone Else" CD/LP/Track Review Someone Else
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 27, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.