285

Gerry Hemingway: The Whimbler

Michael McCaw By

Sign in to view read count
Gerry Hemingway: The Whimbler For those who may approach Gerry Hemingway as an acolyte of Anthony Braxton and thus shy away from the often dense musical milieu put forth by Braxton and his ilk, The Whimbler is cause for intrigue and celebration. And for those who approach Hemmingway for exactly this association, don't turn away because the compositions aren't mathematical equations.

Working with the pliable and flexible combo of Ellery Eskelin (tenor), Herb Robertson (trumpet), and Mark Helias (basses), Hemmingway has crafted nine compositions that fulfill some of the expected firepower of this front line combination. These frameworks at once direct the flow of traffic and lend the music purpose, still leaving the players free to follow their muse. Even Hemingway's trap set reflects this more centered avant approach, forgoing a massive kit for a more tightly knit traditional set with a few extra surprises.

Highlights abound, and tracks such as "The Current Underneath reveal the beauty contained herein. Through shifting combinations of tones and colors, Hemingway's drums and Helias' electric bass lay the way for Eskelin and Robertson. The always inventive Eskelin, in complete command of his instrument, opens up the song with notes that spill out on top of one another like a slow-flowing brook.

Coming out of a number of beautiful unison lines that restate themes with Helias wandering underneath, Robertson emerges from elongated tones to take the lead. While his trumpet is usually associated with avant fire, here he works with freedom in a more restrained tone. Capable of sounding akin to a dark robust hybrid of Roy Campbell and Clifford Brown, his burnished sound skims the top of the beat, slyly working its way through the mood.

Helias is really the glue throughout the album. Although by no means a stationary rock to tether everyone else, he often provides the pulse or stated pulse of a song. Regularly carrying melodies and grooves and providing a counterpoint to the horns, Helias is a force both on acoustic and electric bases, serving as an effective lynchpin.

The album flows through many colors, like the free bop of "Pumbum and the dance-like bass line of "Kimkwella (with call-and-response horns sparring above). And of course there are the expected moments of abandon, like on "Spektiv, where Robertson works his way up his horn to a blistering crescendo, leading the way for Hemingway to leap into his own percussive solo. But the key to The Whimbler is that it never loses its identity. Whether strictly written or free and occupying all points in between, the album retains an identity formed by its collective spirit.

The Whimbler is a standout album from 2005 and should not be missed for those listening on the fringes of bop or all the way through free improvisation. Bridging the gaps and presenting a standout album, Hemingway has done a spectacular job.


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

Personnel: Gerry Hemingway: drums; Herb Robertson: trumpet; Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Mark Helias: acoustic and electric bass.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "A Missing Shade of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A Missing Shade of Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Deep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Nwayo" CD/LP/Track Review Nwayo
by James Nadal
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Tangle" CD/LP/Track Review Tangle
by John Eyles
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Anthology - Bigger Than Life" CD/LP/Track Review Anthology - Bigger Than Life
by Doug Collette
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works" CD/LP/Track Review Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 4, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!