- River Looking 6:22
- Dream 5:46
- Waiting 6:29
- Somewhere In Time 6:37
- Conversation 6:18
- Journey 6:07
- Ebb 6:21
- For Boris 4:46
- Lullaby For A Wedding 1:31
LABOR RECORDS RELEASES Ebb BY
NEW YORK BASED GUITARIST DEREK BRONSTON
The follow-up recording to Derek’s critically acclaimed 1999 album,
Longing, featuring the new Derek Bronston Group.
“Bronston’s ideas brim with the simmering mist of early morning wisdom taken from that previous night of searching for new sounds. “
— Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide
The Derek Bronston Group
Through his work with a wide range of artists like Jerry Gonzalez, Tom Harrell, D.D. Jackson and Cecil Taylor, Derek Bronston has established himself as a highly distinctive and accomplished guitarist. But as his new Labor Records release Ebb proves, Bronston is an equally unique and talented composer and leader.
Like his acclaimed debut CD “Longing” (Hacate, 1999), Ebb displays Derek’s innovative and quite beautiful approach to collective improvisation and the group dynamic.
The nine Bronston originals that comprise this extraordinary album contain a delicate lyricism and elegance, along with a sense of passion that brings the best out of his three extremely sympathetic collaborators.
Saxophonist Lisa Parrott’s crisply dry, lovely alto sound blends perfectly with Bronston’s subtly sensitive and adventurous stylings. Their amazing interplay whether in call-and-response on the Middle Eastern modality of “For Boris”; interweaving dramatically on the softly insistent groove of “Somewhere in Time”; or in beautiful unison on the atmospheric ballad “Waiting” maintains the tradition of fine guitar/saxophone pairings like Eddie Lang/Frankie Trumbauer and Jim Hall/Paul Desmond.
Her lilting soprano on the relaxed edginess of “Conversations” and the rich timbre of her baritone on the probing gentility of the title track, give further evidence of her importance to Bronston’s approach to the ensemble concept.
Bassist Gary Wang’s deeply hued and vibrant sound enhances every track and his solos on “Waiting” and “Ebb” retain the overall sense of interplay without any sacrifice of self-expression. And the seamless unity that he and drummer Gerald Cleaver provide creates the ideal dynamic for the interaction demanded by Bronston’s musical vision.
The understated intensity and “emotional/spiritual” focus of Derek’s guitar work centers every track, whether out front or woven into the ensemble. His rapid, single-note solo melds into edgy, counter-rhythmic chords under Parrott’s alto on the up-tempo samba of “Dream.” On “Journey,” a dedication to the “less is more” philosophy of the brilliant architect Mies van der Rohe, the deceptive simplicity of Derek’s introduction becomes an insistent ostinato that propels Lisa’s sinewy alto.
From the gently flowing “River Looking” that opens the album to the filigree beauty of its very brief closer, “Lullaby for a Wedding,” the real foundation of this delightful CD is the refined sense of melodic development, harmonic movement and rhythmic invention that characterizes all of Bronston’s highly original compositions.
Bronston made the “radical decision” to pursue music full-time after studying anthropology and social science at the University of Michigan in the late Œ80s. Deeply influenced by John Coltrane’s “First Meditations,” Derek moved to New York City in 1990 and after two more years of study and absorbing the diverse musical landscape of his new hometown, began to work steadily on the downtown scene.
By 1995, he was leading his own ensemble, The Derek Bronston Group, and The Hush (a group he still co-leads) signed with Shanachie Records. Landing a high-profile gig with the legendary pianist Cecil Taylor, Bronston began to cement his reputation while continuing to develop and expand his ensemble concept and compositional style.
“I love a lyrical approach, where the players approach a piece collectively and melodically, extend their improvisations from it, and communicate as one with each other and the listener.”
If Ebb is any indication, he’s accomplishing his goal in most admirable fashion.
Guitarist Derek Bronston has a dry tone and a fertile musical imagination, and sounds comfortable in the sparse setting featured on this CD. The
music, nine Bronston originals, is forward-looking post-bop matching Bronston's guitar with altoist Lisa Parrott (who plays soprano and baritone on a song apiece), bassist Gary Wang, and drummer Gerald Cleaver.
Although none of the songs is destined to catch on as a standard, the
improvising is on a high level. These East Coast-based musicians deserve to be much better known.
Guitarist/composer, Derek Bronston signifies yet another up and coming artist emanating from New York City's generally vibrant jazz scene. With his second release, the artist continues to meld sonorous melodies and atmospheric choruses with climactic overtures. Besides, he enjoys an extremely fruitful association with his counterpart, saxophonist, Lisa Parrott who resides as a near perfect foil in the soloing arena. However, Ms. Parrott often establishes the melody lines atop Bronston's intricately executed chord progressions and circuitous single note leads. Whereas the rhythm section manipulates the ebb and flow in altogether non-intrusive fashion. Essentially, Bronston does not overwhelm the listening audience with technical gymnastics yet fabricates motifs with an undeniable sense of purposefulness. Meanwhile, the band engages in climactically driven improvisational discourses, abetted by Ms. Parrott's warmly executed lines and sweet-tempered lyricism. Otherwise, this band is in no rush to make its point as they perpetuate relaxed grooves via oscillating undercurrents and dreamlike passages. No doubt, Derek Bronston's star is on the rise! Recommended.
- Glenn Astarita, allaboutjazz
Guitarist Derek Bronston has played with artists including Jerry
Gonzalez, Tom Harrell, D.D. Jackson, and Cecil Taylor, and he regularly gigs the New York City jazz scene with his eponymous quartet.
Ebb, his second CD as composer and band leader after 1999's
Longing, offers nine original tracks of mellow, acoustic jazz
from a group of guitar, sax, bass and drums.
Ebb starts and finishes in a somber mood, bracketed by the slow
swing of "River Looking" and the short dirge of "Lullaby for a
Wedding." In between, a few moderate up-tempo grooves accelerate the pace, like "Dream" and "Somewhere in Time," but after each, the vibe comfortably settles back into tranquility, with the sad drone of the alto sax in "Waiting" or the yearning soprano sax on "Conversation."
On the title track, the musky tone of the high register baritone sax
Melody over Bronston's ringing arpeggiated chords provides the most moving moment of the record. The traditional jazz flavor of the rhythm section, with upright bass and soft, pinging ride cymbal, ideally matches the purring hollow-body guitar and the sinuous, breathy saxophone. Bronston's serene tunes and the group's delicate and emotive playing perfectly capture a smoky jazz club vibe, at the end of the night when only a few stalwarts are left, and the bartender is starting to sweep up a little early. That's often when those last stragglers get to hear insightful music from skilled musicians, even though the rest of the room sits empty. Ebb shuns modern sound and flashy playing to flourish in this peaceful, restrained mood.
Bronston's Ebb slides through fifty minutes of blue jazz, with a
profound subtlety of melody and performance that doesn't really sink in until the CD has already ended. For more information, Bronston's web page at www.derekbronston.com has annoying automatically playing audio, scant bio information, and a poor design showing a blank front page in IE 5.5, but the Labor Records site at http://www.laborrecords.com/ has a bio and information on Ebb.
Reviewed by Scott Andrews [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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