188

Jim Ridl: Your Cheatin' Heart and Other Works

By

Sign in to view read count
Jim Ridl, who's been with Pat Martino's bands for years, deserves to be better known. Not only is he a personal, forceful pianist, he's also a first-rate composer and arranger who knows how to put together a band and how to make thoroughly engaging albums like this one. Country songs like Hank Williams' title opus and "Tennessee Waltz are not the usual fare of jazz musicians (exception: saxophonist Benny Wallace). In trio with bassist Steve Varner and drummer Jim Miller, Ridl digs into "Your Cheatin' Heart as if moving the geography from Williams' Alabama to the Mississippi shores of Memphis.

With the rest of his quintet—vocalist J.D. Walter, soprano saxophonist Ron Kerber, bassist Steve Varner and guest Jef Lee Johnson on mandolin—Ridl creates an ethereal version of "Tennessee Waltz, Varner plucking the melody as a high wordless voice and the saxophone harmonizing with the trilling mandolin. It's a truly haunting, singular version of the song.

The album's other standard is the Ellingtonian "Caravan, given a most original reading, beginning with free rubato intros and featuring a long, architectonic solo by Ridl as its centerpiece: it begins a cappella with disjointed, Monkish kernels coalescing into riffs and evolving into long, flowing, two-handed lines. Ridl's three originals include the two-part "Grazed by Light, with a lyric piano prelude, then a quintet version of the attractive melody, with sax and voice again forming a luminous ensemble sound.

"Antiphon (tri vulti pacis) is a stately piece (originally written for the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop big band) giving piano, voice and sax each a turn at the processional melody. "Smile, Said the Drum has, according to Ridl, "a certain Coltrane thing and is dedicated to the memory of Elvin Jones. It has the requisite hard drive from Miller, with swinging solos from Ridl and Kerber; don't miss Ridl's sparkling comp figures behind the sax, exemplifying another reason he's so good.


Track Listing: Your Cheatin

Personnel: Ron Kerber: soprano saxophone; J.D. Walter: vocals; Steve Varner: bass; Jim Miller: drums; Jef Lee Johnson: guitar, mandolin; Jim Ridl: Yamaha grand piano, Happyland baby piano.

Title: Your Cheatin' Heart and Other Works | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Dreambox Media


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Mist. Moss. Home." CD/LP/Track Review Mist. Moss. Home.
by Jim Olin
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Syzygy" CD/LP/Track Review Syzygy
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "I Know Who I Am" CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties" CD/LP/Track Review The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 4, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.