4

Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek: Reeds Ramble

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek: Reeds Ramble Saxophonists Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek are both into their third decades as professional musicians. Their working relationship goes back to the early-90s when Cheek was a member of Blake's "alternative grunge jazz" band The Bloomdaddies. On Reeds Ramble (the title is borrowed from a tune written by guitarist Jerry Reed) the two men lead a quintet on a selection of tunes ranging from Elmo Hope's upbeat "De Dah" to Brian Wilson's oddly unsettling "'Til I Die," with one original each from the saxophonists.

Blake and Cheek have brought together a tremendous rhythm section, which includes The Bad Plus' pianist Ethan Iverson, James Farm bassist Matt Penman and drummer Jochen Rueckert. The three players are consistently excellent—although their playing on Blake's "All About Me" (based on the "All Of Me" changes) and Chico Buarque's "Na Carreira" deserves special mention, especially Iverson's cascading runs on the final section of Blake's tune.

Special mention should also go to "Lady In Langour." Atmospherically, it sounds like a '40s classic ballad yet it's a contemporary tune written by Canadian composer Vickie Yang, who Blake has worked with on a variety of projects. Instrumentally it features fine performances from each musician and some of the album's most intriguing harmonies—with Iverson in the band, there's some stiff competition for that particular accolade.

The real joy of Reeds Ramble is in hearing the tenor saxophones together—in unison, trading phrases, firing off each other's ideas. On "Na Carreira" the twin tenors attack the tune from the off, chasing each other with a real sense of fun, driven by Rueckert's brushed drums. On "I Surrender Dear" they're laid back, almost lazy in places. The feeling is delightfully relaxed. "All About Me" features the pair in rip-roaring bebop mode, while the slinky groove of Eddie Harris' 7/4 "1974 Blues" gives the pair a chance to stretch out on their solos.

Track Listing: Na Carreira; 1974 Blues; Holodeck Waltz; Blue Moose; De Dah; 'Til I Die; I Surrender Dear; All About Me; Lady In Languor.

Personnel: Seamus Blake: tenor saxophone; Chris Cheek: soprano saxophone (3), tenor saxophone; Ethan Iverson: piano; Matt Penman: bass; Jochen Rueckert: drums.

Title: Reeds Ramble | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Criss Cross


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "George DeLancey" CD/LP/Track Review George DeLancey
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Subterranea" CD/LP/Track Review Subterranea
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Translator's Note" CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Live at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival / Matt Savage: Piano Voyages" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival /...
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 29, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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