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Rufus Reid: Terrestrial Dance

Karl Ackermann By

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Rufus Reid is one of a handful of true renaissance figures in the arts. The bassist and composer has been an active presence in the jazz world since the 1970s and has recorded more than a dozen albums as a leader and in groups with Dexter Gordon, Andrew Hill, The Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Quartet, Kenny Barron, Stan Getz, J. J. Johnson, Lee Konitz, Jack DeJohnette and many others. Reid has written for strings, jazz ensembles of varying sizes, solo bass and composed for a symphony orchestra. His reputation as an educator is equal to that of his musical achievements. His book The Evolving Bassist (Myriad Limited, 1974) remains a classic work for methodology and he has taught Jazz Studies and Performance Program at William Paterson University. Terrestrial Dance is Reid's Newvelle Records debut and the vinyl label's final second-season release.

For this recording Reid works with a trio and string quartet. Reid continues to lead his Out Front Trio with pianist, Steve Allee and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca. Allee has recorded six albums as a leader and has composed extensively for television. Brazillian drummer Da Fonseca has recorded ten albums as a leader, mostly with samba themes. The trio had previously released Out Front (Motéma, 2011). Joined by the New York-based Sirius Quartet, the string group is internationally regarded having played Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, the Beijing Music Festival, the Cologne Music Triennale, Stuttgart Jazz, Musique Actuelle in Canada, the Taichung Jazz Fest and other notable venues.

Side A opens with "This I Ask of You" beginning with Reid's plucked strings then giving way to the string quartet and a full chamber experience. The imaginative playing of the trio on "It's Time to Shout it Out" shifts gears, with energized post-bop. "Tippin'" and Victor Feldman's "Falling in Love" more fully combine the strings and trio in compositions that successfully merge baroque elements with modern jazz. The first side concludes with the reflective trio number "Transcape." On Side B, "Celestial Dance" returns the emphasis to the strings before "You Make Me Smile" takes off, driven by a blistering piano solo. Terrestrial Dance closes with an energetic take on Cedar Walton's "Cedar Blues."

In the dicey milieu of jazz with strings, Reid's long experience with both genres (and their hybrids) makes the difference on Terrestrial Dance. He treats each piece with meticulous expressiveness, his colleagues displaying remarkable musicianship in translating the leader's vision without extraneous features. Though the approach here is straight-forward, the arrangements and playing are artistically creative and very pleasing. Terrestrial Dance is an excellent addition to Newvelle's eclectic and discerning catalog.

Track Listing: Side A: This I Ask of You; It’s Time to Shout it Out; Tippin’; Transcape; Side B: Celestial Dance; You Make Me Smile; Falling in Love; Cedar’s Blues.

Personnel: Rufus Reid: bass; Steve Allee: piano; Duduka Da Fonseca: drums; Sirius Quartet: Fung Chern Hwei: violin; Gregor Huebner: violin; Ron Lawrence: viola; Jeremy Harman: cello.

Title: Terrestrial Dance | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Newvelle Records

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