Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

138

Bill Moring: Way Out East

Rob Mariani By

Sign in to view read count
I wish this CD had more detailed liner notes on each of these players and a little history of the group. They're a really interesting band and frankly, I'd never heard of them before. Bill Moring and his cohorts seem completely at home in this "cordless" context and his rich, driving acoustic bass playing more than makes up for the lack of piano or guitar comping.

Drummer Steve Johns fleshes out the rhythm section with a time feeling that's very solid and assured. His fills are musical and never distracting, always serving the group, even when the soloists are at their most abstract. This is an extremely cohesive rhythm section and they lay down a groove that the horn men can really relax into.

The liner notes do make brief mention of trumpeter Walrath's having "'learned alongside the great Charles Mingus," and indeed his feeling for melody and his writing reflect Mingus' wonderful lyricism. Walrath has a kind of lean, icy tone. His phrasing is sharp and edgy. He doesn't "decorate" with notes. His lines are smart and to-the-point. He reminds me a bit of Roy Hargrove, although his tone is more brittle.

Reed man Tim Armacost's admiration of Sonny Rollins is hard to miss. His melody lines are always pushing the envelope but still accessible. His unison work with Walrath is flawless and the give-and-take between the two throughout has a wonderful, easygoing balance, despite the complexity of some of the tunes. And each player seems to feel comfortable commenting on his partner's solo at any given point, which adds to the spontaneity and freshness. And the fun.

With two exceptions, "The Days of Wine and Roses" and "Sweet and Lovely," the tunes are all originals. "Free Ditty," by Armacost, has a particularly "free" feeling and there's a lot of interesting interplay between the two hornmen. It's often hard to tell where the written parts end and the improvised parts start—a sure sign that each band member is on the same wavelength. At any given point, someone can take the tempo or the mood in a whole different direction, and everyone just falls into step effortlessly.

The head on "Sweet and Lovely" is played in a very traditional way with an almost Dixieland feeling. Walrath's trumpet maintains that easygoing, "lazy river" attitude with his most laid-back solo of the CD. Armacost plays soprano, and although he goes a bit further out then Walrath, the trumpeter inserts some clever structural ideas underneath his solo that keep tugging Armacost back to the melody. The tension is interesting, and Moring's big fat acoustic bass sound holds it all together.


Track Listing: Ornettology; The Days of Wine and Roses; Cave Canem; I Don

Personnel: Bill Moring, bass; Jack Walrath, trumpet; Tim Armacost, tenor; Steve Johns, drums

Title: Way Out East | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Apria Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Caldera" CD/LP/Track Review Caldera
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 10, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Blues and Boogie Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Organ Monk Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk Blue
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 13, 2018
Read "Dreaming Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming Spirits
by Kris Perdew
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 11, 2017