Representing jazz's modern mainstream, Drew Gress' quartet album swings, while offering – at the same time – unexpected changes of direction. Saxophones, piano, bass and drums interact with a spirit that implies reserves of energy. That motion is sitting there, rocking, and waiting for a chance to explode. Fortunately, this veteran quartet knows how to harness the energy. Uri Caine provides exciting dances up and down the piano's keyboard, with measured phrases that format his creative ideas. Tim Berne offers a thin, edgy tone that blends with piano and darts in and out of the quartet's improvised counterpoint. His classical approach to the alto saxophone carries a warm feeling that serves to unify the ensemble. Gress and Tom Rainey interact as partners in this foursome; they're not here simply to provide a rhythm. Instead, each of the four artists accepts equal roles.
Drew Gress, 42, grew up in the Baltimore/Washington DC area and now works out of New York. While he considers his East Coast environment conducive to an aggressive style, Spin & Drift cannot be described as either hard-bop-derived or avant-garde experimentation. Rather, his band, Spin & Drift, communicates variety through tension and release. It's natural. From their rompin' and stompin' "Sledmouth Chronicles," to Gress' lyrical solo on "Pang," the session absorbs the listener because of its unpredictable changes and comfortable ease of transition.
Track Listing: Disappearing, Act 1; Torque; It Was After Rain That the Angel Came; Jet Precipice; Aquamarine; The Sledmouth Chronicles; Here, at the Bottom of the Sky
Personnel: Drew Gress- acoustic bass, pedal steel guitar added on "Aquamarine."; Tim Berne- alto saxophone, baritone saxophone on "The Sledmouth Chronicles" & "Pang," and added on "Disappearing, Act 1;" Uri Caine- piano; Tom Rainey- drums, percussion.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.