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Sometimes a jazz band will perform sans piano simply because the bar or hall doesn’t own one, or for a New Orleans funeral procession the reason is obvious. The choice not to record with an available piano is a conscious one. Take Ornette Coleman’s 1960 quartet, Sonny Rollins at The Village Vanguard 1957, or John Zorn’s Masada of the 1990s all elected to free themselves from the constraints of those black & white keys. I’m telling you this because Rob Blakeslee’s quartet opts for openness and the freedom. Peace. Blakeslee and Rich Halley are regular contributors to the West Coast bands of Vinny Golia and recordings from his label 9Winds. Of note are two discs they collaborated on, Halley’s Live At Beanbenders (1998) and Blakeslee’s Lifeline (1994). On Waterloo Ice House their simpatico is extended by the overtly nurturing timekeepers bassist Clyde Reed and drummer Dave Storrs. Beautifully recorded, (small labels please note) each individual musician’s sound can be recognized with a clarity Rudy Van Gelder would savor. The quartet sax/trumpet/bass/drums causes me to recall the band Old And New Dreams. Formed to play the music of Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Ed Blackwell, and Charlie Haden soon spoke with their own voices. As does Blakeslee’s Quartet. Their freedom is not without an intuitive lyricism. Fans of free jazz will be drawn to their ideas, while post-bop listeners can revel at the complete lines drawn and the group interplay.
Track List:Just What’s Written; Blinkey’s Room; Give Up The Chair; We Will Not Scream Together; The Music Of Five; Fix You Bendiks; Waterloo Ice House.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.