A debut recording which belies the youth of its leader, Sound of Bronze
is the handiwork of Jeong Hwan Park
, a bassist on the rise who has assembled some fine talent and terrific compositions on this promising quartet album. Bouyed by the presence of veteran tenor saxophonist Rich Perry
, Park and his colleagues specialize in music which possesses a quiet sophistication and considerable emotional depth.
Park penned all eight of the album's cuts, and they are remarkably well-conceived, with an unhurried development which allows their winsome appeal to emerge naturally. Nothing is forced here. Pianist Nitzan Gavrieli
's gently ringing chords announce the opening title track, and Perry's patient unfurling of the tune creates an alluring warmth which is further enhanced by robust solos from Park and Gavrieli, all the while supported by the unfailingly graceful touch of drummer Takehiro Shimizu
. Perry's own solo statement is a marvel of restraint, with impeccable delivery and subtle logic. Most of the album moves in a similar vein, with slow to mid-tempo pieces which allow plenty of room for nuanced expression and an expansive feel. Perry is the ideal saxophonist for this music, with an ability to reach to the core of Park's strong melodies without excessive ornamentation and with an uncanny instinct for giving each note its due, even sometimes lagging just a mite behind the beat, so as not to rush the proceedings.
Tracks with a bit more punch, such as the steady-swinging "Blues for GD" or the straight-ahead up-tempo burner "Cringe Moments," have their own potency, and Perry is certainly able to unload with both barrels when needed. But these pieces don't quite do justice to Park's compositional acumen, which is best revealed on the quieter, more melancholy tracks. Take the lovely ballad "Ultimo Fine de Semana," for instance, in which Perry's dusky tenor carves out a reflective space for poignant longing. Or the lilting waltz "Maldivia," with a simple yet affecting theme which becomes more captivating each time one hears it. On these pieces Park demonstrates the instincts of a natural composer, and they give the album its distinctive appeal.
The album concludes with another striking ballad, "Oracion," and once again one is impressed by the refined beauty of Park's music. Played rubato, with even more room for expressive freedom, Perry's haunting tenor winds delicately in interaction with the other three players, each luxuriating in the piece's inviting charms, almost reluctant to stop, lest the music's spell fade away completely.
1.Sound of Bronze
2. A Letter from the North
3.Blues for GD
5.Ultimo fin de Semana
8. Oracion (for Mother)