All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

512

Gerry Hemingway: The Whimbler

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Dream team assemblages are fairly regular occurrences in New York City-baseed improvisatory music. With so much talent operating in such a relatively small territory, the odds of a favorite players teaming up remain strongly favorable. Such alchemy is apparent in abundance on Gerry Hemingway's new project for Clean Feed, one that builds on the standing foundation of its predecessor, Devil's Paradise, with a few perspicacious personnel changes.

Titled with whimsy, The Whimbler convenes a quartet with credentials to spare. The frontline of tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and trumpeter Herb Robertson alone incites all sorts of scintillating creative music fantasies, not to mention the juggernaut formed by joining Hemingway and bassist Mark Helias as a rhythm section. This is a group staunchly oriented toward the drummer's jazz and groove-based proclivities. Helias even brings along his Squier electric to cultivate an appropriately ricocheting rubber ball tonality on tracks like heavily syncopated blues "The Current Underneath, which slots a surprise space for the leader's nimble marimba, and the title piece, another funky number that perambulates on a popping pogo stick beat. The closer "Kimkwella also depends on his fibrillating fingerings in the service of a tropical-tinged island theme.

All compositions come from Hemingway's pen and are chock-full of changeups and about-faces that demand active participation on the part of the players. Fortunately, the ensemble was able to commit the basics to collective memory on a series of concert gigs leading up to a pair of studio recording dates. Hemingway largely abstains from involving the more abstract elements of his style like bowed cymbals and scraped metal and focuses instead on crafting a tight conference of accessible voices that still leaves plenty of room for spontaneous revision and individual input. "Waitin jogs along on a rims-driven rhythm, soon augmented by the colorful splash of cymbals. Helias' bulbous fills also add a propulsive push in close collusion for the ramp up to sprinting finish.

Pieces like "Pumbum and "Curlycue carry the airy melodiousness of madrigals, horns floating breezily across porous terrain charted by bass and drums, but are just as likely to turn on a hairpin into hard-charging swing. Eskelin alternates from cutting honks to velvety flutters, calibrating cannily to the mood and needs of each piece. Robertson's brass proves just as versatile. His liquid mercury tone and quick-witted phrasing daubs and darts with just the right ratio of viscosity to bite. His exchange with Helias' arco strokes on "Rallier makes for an unexpectedly agreeable match.

Throughout this piece and others, Hemingway's sticks stamp shifting rhythms that subtlety toy with and subvert their expected trajectories alongside Helias' stalwart thrum. In his closing solo he exudes the directness and drive of a rock drummer, stoking the beat with cascading rolls. It's as if the relatively conventional, but still highly feracious and engaging structures of the compositions aren't quite capable of containing him.


Track Listing: Waitin; Rallier; The Current Underneath; Pumbum; The Whimbler; Spektiv; Curlycue; In the Distance; Kimkwella.

Personnel: Gerry Hemingway: drums; Herb Roberston: trumpet; Ellery Eskelen: tenor saxophone; Mark Helias: acoustic & electric bass. Recorded March 2 and June 17, 2004, Brooklyn, NY.

Title: The Whimbler | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Grey Matter

Grey Matter

NoBusiness Records
2014

buy
Kernelings

Kernelings

Auricle Records
2014

buy
Riptide

Riptide

Clean Feed Records
2011

buy
 

Inbetween Spaces

Auricle Music
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Passion Reverence Transcendence CD/LP/Track Review
Passion Reverence Transcendence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Inner Voice CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Voice
by Don Phipps
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Live In London Volume II CD/LP/Track Review
Live In London Volume II
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 17, 2018
Read The Literature CD/LP/Track Review
The Literature
by Jim Trageser
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Suite 150 / A Big Band Portrait CD/LP/Track Review
Suite 150 / A Big Band Portrait
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 16, 2018
Read Lost Days CD/LP/Track Review
Lost Days
by Don Phipps
Published: August 16, 2018
Read "Emilio Santiago" CD/LP/Track Review Emilio Santiago
by Kevin Press
Published: July 30, 2018
Read "Viriditas" CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "The Poetry of Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review The Poetry of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Formidable" CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "Cosmic Playground" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "If You Have a Dream" CD/LP/Track Review If You Have a Dream
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 3, 2017