256

Terry Plumeri: Water Garden

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Terry Plumeri: Water Garden With the compelling, largely free-blowing 1971 session He Who Lives In Many Places (GMMC Records) finally issued on CD in 2006, Water Garden rights a similar wrong for Terry Plumeri, an overlooked bassist if ever there was one. Recorded five years later, Water Garden was an even more ambitious date that brought back guitarist John Abercrombie and percussionist Michael Smith, but also features enlists Ralph Towner and, in one of his earliest date, pianist Marc Copland.



Plumeri's career has since occupied jazz and classical spheres—both directly and in the personal nexus point between the two. Water Garden is a terrific introduction to Plumeri, whose stunning arco work elevates him above many of jazz's better-known bassists. Plumeri's fine, two-movement suite for string quartet and contrabass closes this 45-minute set on a more overtly classical note, but it's Water Garden's other five compositions that make it such an essential listen. Taking place, as it does, during the height of ECM label's groundbreaking emergence; it similarly expands the purview of jazz into previously uncharted territories. That two of Plumeri's cohorts were ECM artists (then and now) needn't suggest Water Garden would (or should) have had a home on the venerable German label, but its inherent eclecticism and boundary-busting approach would certainly possess similar appeal to its fans.



Smith's kalimba lends "Bornless One" a Gamelan feel, its repetitive nature and pulse also referencing Steve Reich; but with its languid melody and Plumeri's ethereal, overdubbed singing, it's darker in tone. Copland has since emerged as a distinctive pianist with a deeply impressionistic bent; on the strength of his intro to "Ongoing," it's clear that this has been his disposition all along. Opening with Plumeri's arco soaring, fugue-like, over Abercrombie and Copland's contrapuntal parts, "Ongoing" gradually resolves into a vivid, harmonically abstruse piano solo. Abercrombie's modal workout is a highlight amongst highlights as Plumeri proves he can swing with the best of them, before dissolving into a final arco feature for the bassist, this time more lyrically poignant, as he once again ascends in lead-in to the final iteration of the song's contrapuntal core.



"Gypsy" is another hard-swinging modal exercise; Copland's accompaniment nearly supplants Abercrombie's attention-grabbing solo, while Plumeri's arco is even more charismatic. It's revealing to hear the normally more reticent Copland play with such fiery intensity, before Plumeri takes a lithe solo that rivals ex-Weather Report bassist Miroslav Vitous's strength of tone and conceptual confidence. "Laura Rose" links Water Garden's more improv-centric material with the classicism of "Two Poems for Dance." Combining string quartet with Plumeri, Smith, Abercrombie and Towner on classical guitar, the two guitarists' interaction provides an alternate perspective on their already deep chemistry, heard on their duet record, Sargasso Sea (ECM, 1976).



On the strength of Water Garden, Plumeri is an artist for whom, had the stars aligned differently, greater visibility would have been assured and deserved. As it stands, this long overdue CD release of Water Garden goes some ways towards righting a three decade-old wrong.

Track Listing: Bornless One; Ongoing; Gypsy; Water Garden; Laura Rose; Two Poems for Dances: Rush Hour; Two Poems for Dances: Dusk.

Personnel: Terry Plumeri: acoustic bass (1-5), voices (1, 4); Michael Smith: kalimba (1), percussion (1), drums (2-5); Marc Copland: piano (1-4); John Abercrombie: electric guitar (2-5); Ralph Towner: classical guitar (5); James Carter: 1st violin (5); Jacqueline Anderson: 2nd violin (5); Carlos Quinan: viola (5); Fred Zenon: violoncello (5); Richard Webster: contrabass (5-7); Miran Kojian: 1st violin (6, 7); Virginia Harpham: 2nd violin (6, 7); Richard Parnas: viola (6, 7); John Martin: violincello (6, 7).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: GMMC Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Points of View CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Migration Blues CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read N.O. Escape CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Emily’s D+Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Emily’s D+Evolution
by Mark F. Turner
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Light Shines In" CD/LP/Track Review Light Shines In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Hank Mobley" CD/LP/Track Review Hank Mobley
by Greg Simmons
Published: December 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT 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!