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 I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Dreamsville" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Small Town" CD/LP/Track Review Small Town
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "Morning Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "So Cute, So Bad" CD/LP/Track Review So Cute, So Bad
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 5, 2017

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.