Gerry Hemingway's second release on Clean Feed changes a couple of musical partners, but it keeps that critical vibe alive. Hemingway retains tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin from Devil's Paradise (2003) but replaces bassist Mark Dresser with Mark Helias and swaps out Ray Anderson's trombone for Herb Robertson's trumpet.
This new quartet replaces original voices with, well, more original voices. The distinctive sounds of each musician make The Whimbler an animated session. Ellery Eskelin has developed a cult following through his Hatology recordings with Jim Black and Andrea Parkins. Trumpeter Robertson keeps his free playing close to his funny bone, always playing with a light touch in bands led by artists from Tim Berne to Satoko Fujii.
Bassist Helias shared the duty with Hemingway (along with Ray Anderson) for many years in Bass-Drum-Bone. Here he plays both acoustic and electric bass. When he plugs in, the mood shifts toward pulsed power, as on the funky title track. Helias' bass throbs waves over Eskelin and Robertson's free flights.
The eleven-minute "Curlycue walks a bit more of an intimate path, the band checking harmonies and twisting the melody around an amicable resolution. All the tracks on The Whimbler were written by Hemingway, a former Anthony Braxton sideman. He keeps things grooving throughout. The airy "Kimkwella has the feel of Mardi Gras, and the bop-bop of "Rallier gets into a heavy "Night Train beat.
Fans of Hemingway's Devil's Paradise will find much to celebrate here.
Since 1995, shortly after the dawn of the internet, All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.