Wednesday, November 05, 2014

New Releases: PETER BRENDLER-Outside The Line; ART HIRAHARA-Libations & Meditations; FLORIAN PELLISSIER QUINTET- Biches Bleues


Bassist Peter Brendler is at the helm of the set, but we're especially enamored of the trumpet work here – played by Peter Evans on both standard and piccolo trumpet – the latter of which has this wonderfully personal sound! Almost all tunes are originals from Brendler, who turns out to be a pretty great writer – and sets up these strong showcases for Evans' trumpet lines, which seem to leap right out front even before his solos – when he's still sharing the lead with tenorist Rich Perry. Perry's pretty great, too – but there's a freshness to Evans' phrasing that's really great – bold at some minutes, with lots of offbeat twists and turns – and more fragile and honest on the piccolo trumpet tunes. Drummer Vinnie Sperrazza completes the group – and titles include "Blackout Reunion", "Drop The Mittens", "The Darkness", "Blanket Statement", "Lawn Darts", and a surprisingly nice cover of "Walk On The Wild Side".  ~ Dusty Groove


The "libations" in the title here is very well-placed – as pianist Art Hirahara has a wonderfully warm, welcoming quality right from the very first note – not a sound that's cliched or commercial, but an oddly festive feel in the way he approaches the piano – a sound that draws us in right from the start, and gets us comfortable for a positive listening experience! The trio features wonderful bass from Linda Oh – sounding surprisingly great in a straighter trio date like this – plus drums from John Davis, who's also got a nicely sprightly touch. But it's Art's piano that warms us throughout – played in blocks of sound that are commanding, but never overbearing – sensitive, but never soppy – just balanced beautifully at a level that we really didn't expect. Titles are mostly original – and include "With Two Ice Cubes", "Father's Song", "Be Bim Bop", "Dead Man Posed", "The Looking Glass", "Day", and "Nerids & Naiads".  ~ Dusty Groove


The title might sound like a Miles Davis homage, but the record is something else entirely – a really warm, wonderful set of spiritually-tinged jazz tracks – served up with a very classic vibe! The group's led by pianist Florian Pellissier, who also wrote most of the tracks on the set – and the music's got this sense of color and flow that's completely sublime – modes that are almost in the current Blue Note world of Robert Glasper or some of his contemporaries, especially in the way that Pellissier blocks out his chords – but with a vibe that's often more old school too, especially when the music takes off with the trumpet of Yann Loustalot and tenor of Christophe Panzani. Both players are great, and know how to soar at all the right moments – and titles include "J'Ai Du Rever", "Cinq Minutes Avant La Fin", "Dance Cadaverous", "Six Jours Apres La Guerre", and "Biches Bleues". ~ Dusty Groove

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