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For his second album for Invisible Music, superb Maine-based drummer Steve Grover has gotten together long time collaborator, clarinetist Brad Terry for an appealing program of Grover compositions. Grover, winner of the 1995 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz/BMI Jazz Composers Competition, has been an adjunct professor of Music at the Bates, Bowdoin and Maine Universities as well as performer in demand in the Northeast. Brad Terry, an excellent contemporary clarinet virtuoso, is relatively unknown in the United States. While he has played with many jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Swallow, Buddy Tate and Buddy DeFranco, these have been mostly in Europe, especially Poland. There he is one half of the "Jazz Duo", the other half held by Polish pianist Joachim Mencel. Their recordings also feature Terry's whistling skills. His most famous recording session, the critically acclaimed Living Room Tapes was made in the United States with still another Maine native, influential guitarist Lenny Breau.
In these compositions, Grover has chosen the path of exploring color and harmonies with expansive melodies, eschewing clunks, bangs, pops or electronic gimmicks which sometimes afflict modern day jazz recordings. The music and its playing is introspective and agreeable. Grover has created a musical book with each track a chapter and the instrumentalists a character in the book, all making their unique contributions to the plot as it unfolds and moves toward its denouement. Terry's clarinet plays the voice of reason, never losing his cool. Carlberg's piano stays restrained, but it can be more outgoing from time to time. Grover plays the understanding but firm leader. He sets the tone and direction for the musical story with well placed and well-timed accents on snare, trap or cymbal. To his credit, Grover does not take advantage as the leader of the group and the composer of the songs to engage in long winded, senseless drum solos. He waits until the last track, "Dreaming withThelonious", to do some extended drum work, neither loud nor intrusive, fitting in nicely with the overall civilized nature of the plot. Chris Ven Voorst Van Beest's bass pretty much stays with the task of helping to keep the beat. However, he gets a chance in the spotlight on "Remember".
Unlike other albums made up entirely of original material, the ideas embodied by the music on this CD never get stale. Remember keeps one's interest from first track to last and is recommended.
Track Listing: Beginning Again; Noble Accents; The Seventh String; Blues on the Bridge; Blues for Brad; Remember; Ballad for Les; Theresa Minor; Dreaming with Thelonious
Personnel: Steve Grover - Drums; Brad Terry - Clarinet; Frank Carlberg - Piano; Chris Ven Voorst Van Beest - Bass
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.