Back in 2014, trumpeter John Raymond, alto saxophonist Alex LoRe, bassist Noam Wiesenberg, and drummer Colin Stranahan gathered in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn to test out their chemistry and let the music flow. Four years later, after some more sporadic get-togethers and a bump or two in the road, we have their debut.
Opening with the buoyant and clear-headed Kenny Wheeler tune that serves as the name (and something of a directional beacon) for this collective quartet, these men immediately get down to the art of collaboration. While all four members of this band have received top-billing at various times and in different places in their respective careers, their willingness to fold themselves within a single, ego-less shape here is apparent from the start. It turns out to be one of the group's greatest strengths. Whether presenting a peaceable flow on Weisenberg's "Capricorn Lady," supportive sentiments and married (or twined) lines during LoRe's menacing "#14," an ethereal yet motile mindset in Stranahan's Paul Motian-indebted "Motian Sickness," or hip angularity through Raymond's swinging "Landmarks," these musicians move fluidly as one.
In addition to highlighting the rapport-of-four through original music (and the Wheeler opener), the kind folks of Kind Folk further the picture of musical friendship by presenting a few duo miniaturesa drum and trumpet tussle dubbed "Break," a pensive "Future Self" for two horns, and a searching "Silence" for alto and drumsand closing the program with Charlie Haden's poignant "Silence." Those extra touches of variety help to broaden the picture without ever distorting it.
Keeping a quartet like this together is no small feat, but musicians like this always seem to find a way when the music truly resonates with them. These men have a real affinity for one another, and it shows in their every interaction. Kind Folk's eponymous debut is truly a selfless statement of the highest order.
Track Listing: Kind Folk; Capricorn Lady; Break; #14; Landmarks; Future Self; Motian Sickness; Glimmer; Waiting For The Open Door; Silence.
Personnel: John Raymond: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alex LoRe: alto saxophone; Noam Wiesenberg: bass; Colin Stranahan: drums.
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