Pianist Clay Giberson
has a fifteen year resume of fine recordings on Seattle's Origin Records label. The discs are, for the most part, solo and trio outings, with the trio sets appearing under his own name or that of his long-standing Upper Left Trio. Some examples: Spaceton's Approach
, (2008), and Minga Minga
(2015) as Clay Giberson; and Sell Your Soul Side
, (2006), and Ulternative
, (2012), with the Upper Left Trio.
, the pianist goes the quartet mode, bringing in three New York-based all-stars and, on three tracks, a string quartet, to craft his most gregariousand his bestouting to date.
On the pianistic extrovert/introvert scale, with, Oscar Peterson
and Erroll Garner
on the extrovert side, and Bill Evans
or Marc Copland
practicing a more introverted form of the art, Giberson would be ranked close to the middle, with a lean in the Evans/Copland direction. Until now. The gregarious and expansive Pastures
is inspired by the Americana approach of bassist Charlie Haden
, saxophonist Michael Brecker
and free jazz giant Ornette Coleman, and highly inspired it is. Opening with the Giberson-penned "The Time For Now," the groupwith saxophonist Donny McCaslin
blowing bold out frontsounds like the team from McCoy Tyner
's classic Infinity
(Impulse! Records, 1995), on which saxophonist Brecker made one brash statement after another. With bassist Drew Gress
and drummer Matt Wilson
rounding out the Pastures
quartet, and with Giberson sounding particularly vivacious and daring, the music is elevated to the highest level.
"Solfeggio," written by C.P.E. Bach, explores the classical world with a jazz frame of mind, with a sunny, light-stepping delivery. On "Simple Gifts," Giberson employes a string quartet, which brings the atmosphere of the Charlie Haden/Michael Brecker outing, American Dreams
(Verve Records, 2002) to mind. Here, and on "Long Ago And Far Away" (Kern/Gerhswin), the strings enhance and accent the quartet sound with subtle sweetening. On "Infinitity X," a Giberson tuneand (for these ears) the disc's highlightthe two quartets, strings and jazz, slice out a modernistic groove, with McCaslin soaring on the soprano sax before the strings wind things down in a soothing lullaby. Pastures
is Clay Giberson's highly engaging mix of his dynamic original compositions and a handful of well-chosen and distinctively rendered covers, laid down by an enlivened top-notch quartet. Scintillating sounds, from start to finish.
The Time For Now; Solfeggio; Simple Gifts; Highwire; Long Ago And Far Away; Song For Ornette; Nobody Does it Better; Infinity X; Las Pasturas Del Cielo.
Clay Giberson: piano; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone, flute (2, 5), soprano saxophone (8); Drew Gress: bass; Matt Wilson: drums; Emily Cole: violin (3, 5, 8);
Julie Coleman: violin (3, 5, 8); Charles Noble: viola (3, 5, 8); Trevor Fitzpatrick: cello: (3, 5, 8)