Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rob Derke & the NY Jazz Quartet, Blue Divide

Rob Derke and the NY Jazz Quartet is sponsored by the non-profit NY JAZZ Initiative. Many of their appearances around NY and their various tours I assume are done under the auspices of the foundation. But even if that weren't so this is a band that plays an advanced version of the music that bears hearing in any event.

Their album Blue Divide (Zoho 201401) makes that clear. Rob Derke has a very vibrant soprano sax tone with much facility and inventive powers on the instrument. He manages to channel the full tone of Bechet and Coltrane in his own way, projects extraordinarily well and has the ability to captivate in his solos. Aruan Ortiz plays an out kind of freebop piano where the chords are thick and complex yet rooted in changes. His solo style continues that feel, whether in block-chord fashion or post-Herbie-Nichols, post-Monk phrasings both asymmetrical and appropriate. Carlo De Rosa plays a foundational bass that expands the tonality in good ways and he can solo with interesting results. Drummer Eric McPherson has an ingrained swing and does what a freebop-context drummer might be expected to do and does it well--play advanced time.

The compositions are by Derke or De Rosa, with the exception of a group imorov and a Herbie Hancock number ("Still Time"). The heads and structures fit the style of the band and give the ear some guideposts for orientation in nice ways. And they are well put together, too.

We have some solidly exceptional modern jazz in these grooves. It's a freebop spectacular from a band that bears close attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment