Currently serving on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, pianist Mark Soskin knows a thing or two about what keeps jazz alive and well in today's competitive entertainment market.
His straight-ahead quartet interprets this program of nine standards and originals with fire in their eyes and adrenalin in their fingers. As the pianist takes his solo romp during the ensemble's interpretation of Chick Corea's "Innerspace, you can feel the heat waves stretching out in all directions at once. Soskin balances his fast and furious program with lyrical melodies that progress gently. His title track dances delicately as though waltzing across the floor of a warm estate ballroom. Tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Bill Stewart work cohesively to maintain an excellent flow. Guitarist John Abercrombie, who sits in for two of Soskin's compositions, "Step Lively and "Strive, fits in with this close-knit group quite naturally. The former runs with articulate animation, while the latter moves at a more languid pace. Potter employs soprano here for a more stringent sound.
At fifty-four and with seven previous albums as leader, the pianist finds himself buried in creative ideas that flow freely. His superb way with a keyboard is at its most evident as he closes the album with a solo piano interpretation of Clare Fischer's "Pensativa. Here, he's outspoken in his quest to bring adventure into every phrase, every measure of his One Hopeful Day.
Track Listing: On The Street Where You Live; Bemsha Swing; Innerspace; One Hopeful Day; Step Lively; It's Easy To Remember; End Of A Love Affair; Strive; Pensativa.
Personnel: Chris Potter: tenor saxophone (1-7), soprano saxophone (8); Mark Soskin: piano; John Patitucci: bass (1-8); Bill Stewart: drums (1-8); John Abercrombie: guitar (5,8).
I love jazz because it's been a life's work.
I was first exposed to jazz by my father.
I met Hampton Hawes.
The best show I ever attended was Les McCann.
The first jazz record I bought was Herbie Hancock.
My advice to new listeners is to listen at a comfortable volume.