534

Metta Quintet: Subway Songs

By

Sign in to view read count
Metta Quintet: Subway Songs You might not expect a jazz performance of quite this blazing class from a band at the centre of a charitable educational venture, but you should never take music of this spirit and vigour for granted anywhere. Feel free to learn more about JazzReach (Performing Arts & Education Association, Inc.), which was founded by the quintet's drummer, H. Benjamin Schuman. The published details of the association's programmes may well lend great ideas to kindred ventures.

This official resident ensemble's work combines education with a programme of commissioning, recording and performing entirely new works. Making things better all round? Finding good material to do good things with, for sure.

The recording starts with a peep-peep-peep sound, the short melody announcing that a NYC subway door is going to close. Use of subway sounds between—and to a very limited extent within—performances relates to a use of subway sounds and rhythms in devising thematic material. Duke Ellington also got a lot from trains.

Once the morning train's going, with Helen Sung's piano as the music's engine, the drive, swing, and joyful noise of the group's two saxophonists—the wonderful Mark Gross on alto and Marcus Strickland on tenor—lift the spirits. Myron Walden's "Underground" does seem paradoxically titled, given the way the musicians make it sound so sunny.

Train sounds accompany the opening of Sung's "Fast Forward," where the two-horn combination is a sheer joy. Gross likes his horn's lower register; he's worked with Nat Adderley, and he filled Johnny Hodges' chair in the grandson Ellington band. Strickland's fondness for the bottom end of his soprano allows a magnificent blend with the alto, notably on Jimmy Greene's "Underground Messenger." And Helen Sung is a strong, affirmative musician, quite apart from JazzReach's programme on women in jazz.

This is lovely music. For another example, check out Strickland's Carneyesque bass clarinet opening on his own "Ephemeral Muse," and the rhythm section in general. The dubbed subway sounds have something of a better than unobtrusive effect of listeners lightly and politely chatting between numbers at a live gig. Study the programme in more detail, including John Cowherd's three-part "Subway Suite." I find it more interesting than the New York subway. Lean back and feel, well, elevated. The minute or so of a rush-hour closer affords the image of postponing the trip home till things are peaceful. Have a beer, think back, anticipate listening to heartwarming music and press the play button again.

Track Listing: Morning Rush (Stand Clear of the Closing Doors); Underground; Subway Suite, Pt. 1; Subway Suite, Pt. 2; Subway Suite, Pt. 3; Fast Forward; Underground Messenger; Ephemeral Muse; Evening Rush.

Personnel: H. Benjamin Schuman: drums; Helen Sung: piano; Marcus Strickland: tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet; Mark Gross: alto saxophone; Joshua Ginsburg: bass.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: JazzReach | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Gratitude" CD/LP/Track Review Gratitude
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>" CD/LP/Track Review Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>
by John Eyles
Published: June 17, 2016
Read "Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Music of Weather Report" CD/LP/Track Review Music of Weather Report
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Out & About" CD/LP/Track Review Out & About
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!