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The Story: The Story

Mark F. Turner By

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The Story is the real life debut of an exciting new collaborative that is set to make its mark on the jazz world. Invigorated by a young quintet of extremely talented international members—saxophonists Lars Dietrich (Holland) and Samir Zarif (United States), drummer Greg Ritchie, bassist Zack Lober (Canada), and pianist John Escreet (United Kingdom), this eponymous debut is filled with kinetic energy and forward thinking.

Earning individual accolades, awards, and grants, the rising musicians have performed with names such as Herbie Hancock, Joe Lovano, and David Binney. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the group's inception was born after an impromptu jam session in Harlem where their unique connection became obvious. Since their first tour in Holland in 2006, they have been combined deft composition and improvisation, and are developing a strengthened bond which is evident in this release.

The music has a neo-metropolitan persona that is insightful of their personal experiences. Ideas fitting with urban storytelling whose musical words range from lyrically poignant to unrelenting progressiveness. The opening track alone, "Misconception of Life and Death" is episodic; its skin formed with rich horns, subtle shifts, and individual spotlights. "Regen Staat" is an amalgam of modern jazz, classical music, and a hard rock anthem, as the rhythm section drives the tempo and Escreet—whose fierce chops were witnessed on Consequences (Posi-Tone Records, 2008)—delivers a monstrous piano solo which rivals Keith Jarrett's and Jason Moran's intensity and spontaneity, only to be followed by Dietrich's fuming alto sax declaration.

There are moments of rumination, heard in the ballad "One Essential Phrase" where the tenor, alto, and bass share the melody; power grooves in "One Two Three" with its growing momentum, arduous unison lines, and Ritchie's onslaught drum solo; and also an excursion into the surreal with "Influence."

Whether it be down to earth contemplations in "Constant Struggle" or circuitous horn flights in "Gullin Bursti," this is a powerful group whose playing is well beyond its youthful guise and one of the more memorable debuts to be released this year.

Track Listing: Misconception of Life and Death; Regen Staat; Darkness Before the Dawn; One Essential Phrase; One Two Three; Influence; Constant Struggle; Gullin Bursti.

Personnel: Lars Dietrich: alto saxophone, electronics; Samir Zarif: tenor, soprano saxophone; John Escreet: piano, Fender Rhodes;Zack Lober: acoustic, electric bass; Greg Ritchie: drums, cymbals.

Title: The Story | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Self Produced


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