Friday, December 18, 2015

Josh Berman Trio, A Dance and A Hop

No kidding, Chicago is producing some of the finest new jazz on the planet. The new generation of players have stayed put in Chi-town and/or they have expanded outward to form a Chicago diaspora in other urban centers both in the US and abroad.

There are some great recordings being made of the new Chicago thing. Delmark as to be expected has covered an excellent sampling of it and today we have another: cornetist Josh Berman and his trio doing A Dance and A Hop (Delmark 5021). It is album number three for Josh, comprising a trio of players very familiar with each other, with a long history of playing together.

Josh is joined by Jason Roebke on acoustic bass and Frank Rosaly on drums, one of the very best rhythm teams to be had, certainly. And the originals here have the newness of the unexpected along with jazz roots. The band brings out the astute rhythmic and melodic hipness in the best ensemble trio-work manner.

Berman shows that he nowadays can thrive mightily in an exposed trio context. And that he does, with a fluidity of invention, a pinched clarion purity spiced by expressive swoops, growls and split notes. The mid-to-upper range is prominent and his tone is distinctively his.

Jason Roebke gets plenty of space to give us both the solo and ensemble version of his bass inspirations. And Frank Rosaly as ever has the potent swing and musical flexibility to stretch time and mark compositional figures or comment on improvisational doings with all the earmarkings of a percussion colossus. And check out his solo on "Luggage"!

When you combine the compositionally striking material with the improvisational prowess of a trio who knows where to go and heads out in the right ways every time, you have an album that stands out as an outstanding document of why Chicago is a center of the new jazz, as it just about always has been.

The Berman Trio gives you every reason to celebrate the new on A Dance and A Hop. I strongly recommend this one.

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