Joel Frahm’s second Palmetto release again features the fabulous pianist David Berkman, who contributed four of the album’s 10 tracks. Scott Colley and Billy Drummond lay down the rhythm on this terrific set, which also includes four of Frahm’s originals, a no-frills "My One and Only Love," and a soul-style tune by Matt Wilson titled "Hymn for Don Cherry."
Frahm’s tenor sound is big, his improvisations aggressive and content-rich. Berkman outranks him as a composer, however. Only a superior writer could come up with the tension-filled unison lines of "Ants" and "Gradually, I Inserted Myself Into the Conversation," and the open, mid-tempo vistas of "White Bear Speaks" and "The Shoko Dance." Frahm’s Wayne Shorter tribute, "Fort Wayne," is diminished by its somewhat obvious "Speak No Evil" vibe. On the other hand, his fast minor blues line "The Navigator" sizzles with rhythmic invention, while "Shards" and "Sister Julie," respectively, illustrate his abilities as a free jazzer and a crafter of almost pop-like songs.
With this record, it becomes even clearer that Frahm and Berkman have developed one of the most inspired creative relationships in jazz. Of course Colley and Drummond, whose credentials are beyond dispute, add tremendously to this music. But wouldn’t a Frahm/Berkman duo album be a treat?
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.