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Jay Anderson “Deepscape”

Veteran bassistJayAndersonleads an all-star group through an intriguing set of post-bop jazz.

SteepleChase SCCD 31870 / Street Date: April 15, 2019

Throughout hisprolificcareer, bassistJayAndersonhas uplifted the performancesandrecordings of many from the who’s who of jazz. Long overdue to lead his own recording again (his other albums as a leader were made in the early 1990s),Andersonbrings together a flexible group of inventive improvisers to perform an eclectic set of colorfulandthoughtful music forDeepscape.

In diverse settings ranging from chordless quartets and quintets to a bass-harmonium duet, Anderson performs inspired versions of various pieces including gems by Keith Jarrett, Billy Joel, Gil Evans and Morton Feldman.

Five of the selections have the bassist leading achordlessquartet/quintet that features Billy Drewes on altoandsoprano, cornetist KirkKnufke, drummer Matt Wilsonand percussionist Rogério Boccato(on four songs). Among the project’s highpoints,“Shades Of Jazz”and“Southern Smiles” were originally recorded by Keith Jarrett’s legendary American Quartet of the early/mid 70’s, a group that included tenor-saxophonist Dewey Redman, bassist Charlie Hadenanddrummer Paul Motian. These newandjoyful performances feature interaction by the two hornsandare free bop at its best. The quintetalso performsGil Evans’ “Time Of The Barracudas,” Anderson’s original“Momentum”(which utilizes a tone row that expands exponentiallyandfeatures passionate playing by Drewes on soprano),and Branford Marsalis’ “The Mighty Sword.”

Anderson’s bass is in the spotlight for the brief title cut which sets the tone, and has him making a quiet but powerful statement over a drone.

Later, Anderson’s bass takes center stage once again, in a thoughtful folk song-like treatment of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes.”  Deepscape also includes the 5th movement of composer Morton Feldman’s meditative piece “Rothko Chapel,” a reworking of the standard “Sweet And Lovely,” Jim Pepper’s haunting “Witchi-Tai-To,” and a unique bass-harmonium duet with Frank Kimbrough on “Tennessee Waltz.”

  Jay Anderson, bass
  Billy Drewes, alto, soprano, bass clarinet (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10)
  Kirk Knuffke, cornet (2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10)
  Matt Wilson, drums (2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  Frank Kimbrough, harmonium (3, 9, 11)
  Rogério Boccato, percussion (3, 6, 7, 9)

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