Friday, June 14, 2013

Ernie Krivda, at the Tri-C Jazz Fest

Tenor master Ernie Krivda has carved a worthy niche for himself as a post-Rollins, post-Dexter bop traditionalist, an improviser of great invention, someone who chooses to continue to play in a classic older style of jazz, and to thrive musically in the process.

There have been quite a few albums. Here is a new one, Live at the Tri-C Jazz Fest (Cadence Jazz Records 1237). It's Ernie fielding a trio and and quartet at the Cleveland event, in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The music centers around jazz classics by Dexter, Monk, Trane, Rollins and Benny Golson. The bulk of the disk is taken up by the 2009 quartet date, with fired-up performances by Ernie with Claude Black (piano), Marion Hayden (acoustic bass), and Renell Gonsalves (drums). Four numbers give ample time for Mr. Krivda to work his magic. Though occasionally the tenor intonation gets slightly off, you get used to that because Ernie is wonderfully lucid here. Claude plays some full-fledged piano and the rhythm section churns, but it's all about Ernie in the end.

The earlier date gives us one selection, "I Remember Clifford." This time it's Ernie with a different group, a trio that includes Peter Dominguez on acoustic bass and Ron Godale on drums. It's definitive balladry. Dominguez sounds great arco in the beginning, just he and Ernie, then it goes to the full trio. Dominguez takes up the bow again for a nice solo. But if you don't know Mr. Krivda in action, listen to this track and you will get it!

There have been many young Turks who have come along and made Neo-Trad a factor in the Jazz Business. Truth is no one does it better than Ernie. It's in his bones to play like this. He works his vision of the mainstream with full conviction, authentic fire and the ease of a man who has been with it since the style was current, speaks it fluently as his "native tongue" and has the eloquence, fluidity and poise of a master.

This album brings that home to you full-force! Ernie is an institution of his own, Jazz at Ernie's Vital Center, so to speak. It's all on this CD.

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