"Message In Motion" is bassist and composer Peter Brendler's second release for Posi-Tone Records (my review of the debut is here); happily, the album features the same ensemble as the first including Rich Perry (tenor saxophone), Peter Evans (trumpet) and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums). Guitarist Ben Monder joins the band on four of the 10 tracks. One of the more arresting attributes of the debut was how "open" and exploratory the music was and that carries over to this recording as well. The program starts out with a good "blues shuffle", the front line playing a sweet theme that leads into Evans' circular solo and into Perry's romp while the rhythm section keeps the motor running (though pay attention to how Brendler switches for "walking lines" to playing counterpoint. The playfulness of the bassist's infectiousness "Angelica" and it's a Sonny Rollins-like romp that features smart interactions between the bassist and Sperrazza. You can feel the spirit of playfulness on the swinging "Very Light And Very Sweet" and also on the Clifford Brown-like feel on "Didn't Do Nothing." While Brendler and Sperrazza "dance" around underneath, Perry and Evans build sparkling solos on both tracks.
Come to "Message In Motion" with open ears and open mind; you will not be disappointed. The music that Peter Brendler creates with Rich Perry, Peter Evans, Vinnie Sperrazza, and Ben Monder is lively, thoughtful, playful, exciting, and smart. This fine album makes one wish to see and hear this group live.
To hear some of the music, go to www.posi-tone.com/m-inmotion/m-inmotion.html. To learn more about this fine bassist-composer, go to www.peterbrendler.com.
For his debut as a leader, bassist and composer Ricky Rodriguez has created a portrait of a musician who understands that the most artistically successful albums feature musicians who enjoy challenges and the opportunity to shine. Therefore, "Looking Beyond" (Destiny Records Music) is credited to the Ricky Rodriguez Group. The core of the ensemble is the bassist (both electric and acoustic), the first-rate drummer Obed Calvaire, pianist (acoustic and electric) Luis Perdomo, and Myron Walden (alto saxophone, bass clarinet on all but one). Guitarist Aaron Rogers joins on six of the 10 tracks while the guests include David Sanchez (tenor saxophone), Pete Rodriguez (trumpet, no relation) and Obanilu Allende (barril de bomba).
The album closes on the short (1:34) "And Then..." which fades in to a melodic give-and-take over the two-handed piano chords and the conversational drums. It's a pleasing coda, serving to remind listeners that "Looking Beyond" is truly a group effort and reinforces the tone of this truly striking recording. Ricky Rodriguez, who has worked and recorded with vibraphonist Joe Locke, saxophonist Miguel Zenon, and drummers Henry Cole and Roland Vasquez, has created music that excites yet also relaxes, entertains, and gives hope in unsettled times.
For more information, go to destinyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/looking-beyond and www.facebook.com/RickyRodriguezmusic?ref=br_rs.
Here's a tune from the Ricky Rodriguez Group: