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.

Track Listing

Afluencia; Bradley's, 2am?; Monkey Tree; Bite Your Grandmother; Jade Visions; Silver Streams; Grace; E.J.'s Blues.

Personnel

Joe La Barbera: drums; Clay Jenkins: trumpet; Bob Sheppard: tenor and soprano saxophone; Bill Cunliffe: piano; Tom Warrington: bass.

Album information

Title: Silver Streams | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Jazz Compass

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

View events near Los Angeles
Jazz Near Los Angeles
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

More

Read Prism
Prism
Conference Call
Read Conspiracy
Conspiracy
Terje Rypdal
Read Freya
Freya
Tineke Postma
Read Unearth
Unearth
New Hermitage
Read Deep Resonance
Deep Resonance
Ivo Perelman
Read Sun Trance
Sun Trance
Markus Reuter
Read Lies
Lies
Clemens Kuratle Murmullo

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.