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Bob Gluck: Something Quiet

Karl Ackermann By

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Thoroughly explaining the Julliard-trained Bob Gluck would be an exhaustive analysis. An accomplished composer of electronic music, a Rabbi, an educator and historical writer, he ventured deeper into jazz with Sideways (FMR Records 2008). Only Gluck himself remains from that recording's trio, a customary piano trio configuration but with Gluck's various synthesizers included. Something Quiet presents saxophone and bass to compliment Gluck's piano on a solely acoustic outing. It is a highly original and brilliantly creative collection of free jazz and somewhat more ordered modern jazz.

From the set's opener, "Waterway," it is apparent that Gluck's approach is to accentuate melodic textures rather than musical lines. His playing style is full of inner mechanics that quietly sparkle and then dramatically shatter. Tension is a critical factor throughout the piece. Saxophonist Joe Giardullo tackles the challenging task of playing lines along the full range of the soprano. Bassist Christopher Dean Sullivan plays with a natural looseness, easily adapting to the great variety of prevailing directions of the tune. Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance" follows; the only song not written by Gluck. A departure from all-out free style, it has a more structured chord progression within its improvisational approach.

"October Song," like its namesake month, is full of mercurial changes. At some points there are preset chords; at others, the music is free of harmonic limitations. Giardullo's lines alternately bounce and flow, but always stay connected to the main theme. Similarly, Gluck employs unconventional organization throughout the piece, giving it the consideration that would be applied to a classical movement. "Going Away" is a bit of improvised melancholy that is reminiscent of Chick Corea's ability to create tranquility in free form environment back in the days of A.R.C. (ECM, 1970). The remaining three tracks demonstrate more of Gluck's unpredictable compositional, each containing elements of beautifully melodic music and almost vehement force, seamlessly layered and luminously performed.

As a composer and player, Gluck ranks with the likes of Andrew Hill and Cecil Taylor. The model for Something Quiet incorporates structure, power and the lack of restrictions. Without alienating traditionalists, Gluck extends the range of sounds and broadens the scope of compositions, but not to the extent of being atonal. Like the best free jazz, it can only be "free" to a certain degree. The role of each player needs to intersect, as well as possessing the flexibility to break from convention. Something Quiet is completely original, artistically spontaneous, and intellectually challenging.

Track Listing: Waterway; Dolphin Dance; October Song; Going Away; Still Wayters; Sideways; Lifeline.

Personnel: Bob Gluck, piano; Joe Giardullo, soprano saxophone; Christopher Dean Sullivan, bass.

Title: Something Quiet | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: FMR-Records

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