This fleet suite of 78 minutes fans out like a brilliant kaleidoscope of musical events, dovetailing thematic ideas and playful brief solos. After an elastic spooky turn on the Jerome Kern classic "Yesterday," a panoply of 13 originals leads down merry paths of ear-tweaking modes and startling arpeggiated lines at rattlingly good but often-shifting tempos. Rhythm Edge impresses with top-notch musicianship but always keeps you guessing.
Who is this charmed and charming Person and what is his Meta-Four? Reedman Eric Person has logged veteran time in distinguished bands (Chico Hamilton, Dave Holland, World Saxophone Quartet). His open-minded largesse is manifest in an enigmatic yet daring compositional approach that occasionally features smart and subtle twin keyboarding and multi-reed overdubs. His seductively serpentine linear conception as soloist creeps into his writing as smoothly as a snake among reeds.
Meta-Four is Person's present working quartet, a continually collaborative ensemble, as evidenced by the turn-on-a-dime dynamics and pacing of "Reach." Cohort Jerod Kashkin plays agile piano and keyboard (sometimes simultaneously) and dependably whips out fine solos. The rhythm team of bassist Adam Armstrong and drummer Peter O'Brien burbles along, gamely shifting patterns and directions according to the tunes' whims and soloists' darting, while holding to the tight pocket and nailing some tasty bits, with Armstrong on a sidewise blues, O'Brien under brass tutti on the title track.
Cameos ebb and flow. Guitarist Cary DeNigris (a 20-year collaborator) solos on the fiery "Supersonic" but comps neatly elsewhere. Trombonist Robin Eubanks percolates on the 6/8 "Pendulum Swing" and conga-spiced storm-gathering "Multitudes." Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen has her neat say on the closing romp "Tyner Town" (dedicated to another ex-boss of Person's, McCoy Tyner) but inserts a disembodied Miles-ian coda on "Reach." In this aural tapestry are interwoven synth colors and brass fanfares while stray threads of voice and tabla serve as bright exclamation points. Amid the fray, a welcome ballad set ("Sunset" and "Beauty") finds the leader in a calm oasis on his liquid yet potent soprano.
Track Listing: Yesterdays; Reach; Pendulum Swing; The Multitudes; I'll Be Just Fine; Majestic Taurean Majesty; Rhythm Edge; 'A Word From Our Sponsor'; All Out In The Open; Supersonic; Sunset; Beauty; It's Time Again; Pretty Strange Love; Source Lore; Tyner Town.
Personnel: Eric Person: reeds; Jarod Kashkin: piano; Adam Armstrong: bass; Peter O
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.