Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Adam Rogers and David Binney - R and B (Criss Cross, 2015)

Kindred spirits guitarist Adam Rogers and alto saxophonist David Binney are joined on this album by bassist Ruben Rogers and drummer Gerald Cleaver. They create an excellent album of modern mainstream jazz, which is brimming with confidence and self-assurance. Charlie Parker’s “Ah-Leu-Cha” leads off the album with a fast introduction and ripe drumming with guitar and bass joining in for a delightful melody. Binney’s solo is forceful and strong and you can imagine him planting his feet and letting the music flow through him. “Introspection” takes a more medium paced approach with the guitar and saxophone harmonizing together, before Binney’s saxophone breaks free, just a touch slower than the previous piece but brimming with ideas before gracefully passing the baton to his partner who takes a nimble guitar solo, spiraling over solid bass and drums, especially Gerald Cleaver whose rattling drums keep everybody on their toes. The ballad “In Love In Vain” has lush saxophone and soft guitar and very nice softly brushed percussion shading the music nicely. They move forward gradually, Cleaver tapping on cymbals, faster guitar and Binney coming in strong and supple and the full band concludes the performance with a mid-tempo swing. “Africaine” has the band coming bang! Right out of the gate. There is a hard melodic opening and a jagged, craggy saxophone solo moving into a harrowing flight, with everybody along for the ride. Ruben Rogers provides wonderful support throughout, but especially here with a direct, luxuriant tone. The early Miles Davis composition “Sippin’ at Bells” is another wonderfully storming performance from this band which is like a well tuned engine. David Binney in particular is thrilled with the bebop vernacular and expels waves of music, rippling along in a very exciting fashion. The album finishes with “I Feel a Song Coming On” as they began, with a boot firmly on the accelerator. There is a super fast spot for the guitar bass and drums unit before Binney passes them on the shoulder playing a touch lighter and faster and ending the session by trading witty asides with Gerald Cleaver. While it might be passed off as a “blowing session” is clearly one of the highest order. Using bebop classics as a starting base, this quartet takes the jam session aesthetic and uses it to develop their own methodology for in the moment musical interplay. R and B / Rogers and Binney - amazon.com

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