|photo by Debra Scherrer|
"Eleven Cages" is, at turns, playful, soothing, challenging, and always musical. Dan Tepfer, along with Thomas Morgan and Nate Wood, gives the listener much to savor, an aural experience to return to time and again. Highly recommended!
For more information, go to www.dantepfer.com.
Here's the opening track:
Hannah Senesh, a lovely take of Molly Mason & Jay Ungar's "Ashokan Farewell", and the leader's own music for "Psalm 23." The music is gentle yet uplifting, a balm in times of sadness and loss but also a reminder of the peace one can find in contemplation.
|Chamber Music America|
|photo by Sally Green|
For more information, go to www.petemalinverni.com.
Here's the title track:
As on their debut, each person contributed three original songs plus there is one adaptation of a hymn (in this instance, it's a powerful reading of "Faith of Our Fathers"). The band admits they have been influenced by artists and groups such as Oscar Peterson, The Bad Plus, and EST (Cervini's "4ES" was composed for and dedicated to the leader of EST, the late Esbjorn Svensson). MEM3 are not mimics. They use electronics sparingly but what stands out for me is how well they combine melody with rhythmic drive.
Best of all, they are not afraid to play ballads, songs like "AFJ", with its pealing gospel lines, and "Anthem", which has the feel of a classic "soul" ballad, a vehicle for Aretha Franklin, Betty LaVette, or the late Sharon Jones. The piano solo on the latter cut is so "vocal" throughout, especially as it builds to its powerful close (but don't ignore the heart-felt bass solo at the opening of the piece).
"Circles" grows with each successive listen as you hear how well this music is constructed, when you realize that each member of MEM3 checked their egos at the studio door to create this fine example of "group" music.
For more information, go to www.facebook.com/MEM3NYC/.
Here's a taste of the trio's music:
His new recording, "Promethean", is his first for Posi-Tone Records and is a trio date with bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Mark Whitfield, Jr. One might be tempted to assume as he reads the program that, with the exception of the pianist's composition "The Phoenix", that this CD is an homage to Hill's influences. There are two pieces from Tony Williams ("Pee Wee" and "Citadel") and Kenny Kirkland ("Blasphemy" and "Chance") as well as one each from Bobby Timmons, Herbie Hancock, Victor Lewis, Hale Smith, Chick Corea, and Duke Pearson. The lone original is a tribute to McCoy Tyner; one hears it in the muscular chords and the powerful surges from the rhythm section.
The main definition of promethean is "daringly original and creative." That may be hyperbolic in some instances and I wish to modify it just a bit in the case of Theo Hill. He's a daring musician who is continually creative, willing to take chances with the "tradition" without being sacrilegious. No need to shoot the (jazz) messenger but to honor him and her by continuing to move the music forward. Enjoy "Promethean."
For more information, go to www.theoshill.com.
Here's the original tune from the album: