219

Ron Kerber: 'Round in Circles

Paul Olson By

Sign in to view read count
Ron Kerber: 'Round in Circles Philadelphia saxman Ron Kerber may be making his debut as a leader on 'Round in Circles , but he shows nothing but a veteran's poise on this collection of nine of his own original compositions. Kerber plays alto, tenor and soprano sax, and he demonstrates his aptitude for all three horns over an incredibly sympatico rhythm section of his fellow Philadelphians (drummer Joe Nero, bassist Howie Thompson, and a alternating tag-team of de facto Dreambox house pianist Jim Ridl and vibes player Tony Miceli).

This group has a tremendous chemistry; a lot of jazz sessions have a relaxed, after-hours feel, but the music here feels not so much relaxed as imbued with a knowing, mature calm that emanates from Kerber and is grasped and responded to by the rest of the band. Kerber has a lot to say, but he isn't going to stumble by pouring it all out too urgently. There's a beatitude and quiet strength in his sound and a logical sense of inevitability in the way his solo ideas develop. Nero's understated but unerring; he and Kerber each play behind the beat at times and this collective flirtation with inertia produces a remarkable tension. The music's well-served by Glenn Barratt's fine engineering. It's perfectly recorded and mixed, sonically well above the norm.

Kerber's compositions are very good. The title track is a fantastic song with a hypnotic, repeated motif that inspires some great alto work from the leader (indeed, I think I like his alto playing best on this CD), and Miceli's vibes solo here manages to get right into the heart of the song. "Berliner Brau" offers a boppish theme with some appropriate Monkisms from pianist Ridl, although Kerber's alto here sounds more like Jackie McLean than Charlie Parker. "Via Dolorosa" is a stately, doleful dirge with alternating solos from Kerber and Ridl where their rapport is overwhelming: so close is their communion that the listener feels almost as though he is eavesdropping on a private conversation.

My favorite song, though, is the grooving "Uncharacteristic of You," which has some great walking bass from Thompson and an unusual structure where unconventional lengths of the tune's sections produce a strange off-kilter frisson. Finally, there's the album's emotional centerpiece, the majestic tenor meditation "While We Slept," which brings it to a fitting and hopeful conclusion.

'Round in Circles is an ambitious recording that, thanks to good material and band chemistry, succeeds on its own terms. I wonder what Kerber sounds like on other people's tunes. Maybe we'll find out on his next album...?

Track Listing: 1. Jofa (for Joe Farrell) 2. Berliner Brau 3. 'Round in Circles 4. Via Dolorosa 5. Uncharacteristic of You 6. Freddie 'n Me 7. Ariel 8. Forty Days 9. While We Slept

Personnel: Ron Kerber: saxophones; Jim Ridl: piano; Tony Miceli: vibes; Howie Thompson: bass; Joe Nero: drums

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Dreambox Media | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Some Other Time" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Jim Crow's Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Jim Crow's Tears
by James Nadal
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "ScratchBop" CD/LP/Track Review ScratchBop
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Summer Skyshift" CD/LP/Track Review Summer Skyshift
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!