Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

96

Ben Waltzer: One Hundred Dreams Ago

Celeste Sunderland By

Sign in to view read count
Ben Waltzer: One Hundred Dreams Ago Sometimes we're just looking to hear a good, fun jazz album. One Hundred Dreams Ago is it. Ben Waltzer on piano, Gerald Cleaver on drums, and Matt Penman on bass all play with a fearless ferocity. But the nine tracks don't sound wild, or untamed, more confidently swinging. There's not a hint of timidity. And there's nothing nostalgic or morose about it. Even on "Hymn and the Blues Up High," where Waltzer remembers a friend who died in the World Trade Center, it's the bond of a relationship, the spirit of a good friend and the appreciation of life that comes out in the song. In fact, each tune seems like a celebration. Even when the trio quiets it down and plays slowly, you know they're smiling.

The opening track, "Our Rhythm," is a proper introduction. Each player throws tons of energy into his playing that comes off as unified ebullience, as if proclaiming, "this is who we are, and we are a force to contend with." They seem to have a truly honest relationship with each other, passing solos like a baton tossed into the air on Billy Strayhorn's "U.M.M.G," or teasing each other with time like on "Hymn and the Blues Up High," when Waltzer and Cleaver simmer just behind Penman's bass line. The result is a cool, swaggering sound.

Waltzer's compositions hold strong to the tradition of jazz with beguiling melodies and garrulous rhythms. Often foraying into tenderness as on "Smeenus Smiles," he always maintains a solid concept of the whole, never letting it get swallowed up in emotional slinks.

An easy playfulness skims through most of the tracks, but varying textures and images do surface. Cleaver messes with time and timbre on "Soundcheck Blues," creating an interesting terrain of innumerable consistencies. Waltzer's gorgeous take on "I'm Through With Love" sounds gently flirtatious. The pianist convincingly rolls out each line of the melody, tinkling into the upper registers, and making it glisten.


Track Listing: 1 Our Rhythm 5:35 2 Smeenus Smiles 8:52 3 Time and I 6:22 4 Hymn and Blues Up High 7:44 5 U.M.M.G. 9:18 6 Soundcheck Blues 6:34 7 I'm Through With Love 9:15 8 The More I See You 7:01 9 One Hundred Dreams Ago 3:38

Personnel: Gerald Cleaver: Drums; Matt Penman: Bass; Ben Waltzer: Piano.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
Read Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
Read Stinger CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
Read Binary CD/LP/Track Review Binary
Read Piano Song CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
Read "Rumbler" CD/LP/Track Review Rumbler
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
Read "Blues, Preludes and Feuds" CD/LP/Track Review Blues, Preludes and Feuds
Read "Dubopera" CD/LP/Track Review Dubopera

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!