3

The Joe La Barbera Quintet: Silver Streams

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count
If there is a stream of any kind that runs through Silver Streams by The Joe La Barbera Quintet, it is the flow of energy—intense to the point of ignition—that is tapped. No meandering "Old Man River," this team drinks from the source with gusto and unified creativity. That shouldn't be a surprise, since La Barbera and his mates—each a Los Angeles first call musician—have performed together for decades.

La Barbera, one-third of a celebrated jazz family, with brothers saxophonist Pat La Barberaand composer/arranger/educator John La Barbera, is one of the busiest, most respected and beloved drummers in the business. He's performed worldwide with singer Tony Bennett, pianist Bill Evans and others in the jazz pantheon. Here he takes the leader's role and performs with his usual meticulous time, brilliant cymbal and set work and total immersion into the creative forces around him.

The eight selections, all superb originals, provide a diverse platform from which frontline performers and rhythm section deliver. The groove gamut is covered from classic hard bop ("Afluencia," "E.J.'s Blues") and straight-ahead stroll ("Bradley's, 2 AM?") to Frank Zappa-esque quirk ("Bite Your Grandmother"). Throughout the session the intensity and creative energy never let up.

The interplay between these superb players, elegantly subtle at times and in-your-face intense at others, is a joy. Front-liners Bob Sheppard (saxophones) and Clay Jenkins (trumpet) deliver ideas and interpretations which flitter back and forth with little or no regard for their respective instruments' limitations. Each pushes the other's envelope relentlessly, but never in a competitive manner.

Sheppard's saxophones blow from the serene ("Jade Visions") to sublime ("Grace"). His is a creative approach of sustained surprise and rhythmic invention. Jenkins, playing in a highly stylized manner, unabashedly channels Miles Davis and startles with his sound, technical gymnastics, lyric lines and utterly intelligent approach. Pianist Bill Cunliffe beautifully explores tonalities from the Impressionist to the post-Modern and bassist Tom Warrington is a rock throughout. The ensemble's moments of freer group play are a veritable highlight show.

Bill Evans talked about a "Universal Mind Force," into which the finest musicians tap. Silver Streams demonstrates what is ultimately possible when five stellar players merge to simultaneously access that force and deliver its awesome power through their magnificent music.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: mysql_fetch_object(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /home/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php on line 39

More Articles

Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Beginnings CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Synchronic CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "The Crave" CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Unlimited" CD/LP/Track Review Unlimited
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Another Place, Another Time" CD/LP/Track Review Another Place, Another Time
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Grace
by James Nadal
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Signs" CD/LP/Track Review Signs
by Doug Collette
Published: September 10, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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