Recorded at Van Gelder's in September 2021 thank your lucky stars if you find this gem. Maureen Sickler's sound is incredibly warm, the piano particularly coming over like a living breathing thing. Ethan Iverson is at his very best - go for 'Veiled Promise' for its magisterial quality and 'A Place Where Nothing Happens' which is a masterclass in stillness and repose in the initial piano solo. Drummer Vinnie Sperrazza (born Utica, New York in 1979) is very open - reminiscent of Jeff Williams here and when he goes up tempo on 'Sunday' again.
Communicative and in one of the ultimate examples of radical art (which jazz of course still is) containing the ability to use the unradical (ie sweet centre tonalities) to its curatorial advantage mainly achieved harmonically by what double bassist Michael Formanek brings to the table - his oblique sense on 'Just Forget It' is fantastic and Ethan does a rubato thing that makes you feel as if the ground has started shifting beneath your feet.
There's a lot to love here - 'Stephen Paul' at the beginning is very 1970s Jarrettonian - Formanek's arco feature on 'Hyman Arluck' is beautiful. I'll not bang on: Put it like this I couldn't wait to hear it again and again. 'Saturday' has a cheerfulness to it you gain on say a Gene Harris (The Three Sounds) record. Tunes are Sperrazza's and excellent they all are because they make sense. They all are easy to digest but are never trite. The sprawling 'Ellipsis' is a little less effective. Sperrazza says in the notes that the Motian homage 'Stephen Paul' the great drummer's first and middle names is ''a blues in D with 3 themes''; 'Don't Mention the War' is a Basil-ism from Fawlty Towers and that '''Hyman Arluck' is the name by which Harold Arlen was known at the beginning of his life. The melody tries to depict the pain of the early-20th century Jewish diaspora.''
'One Hour' is also on an earlier Sperrazza album Juxtaposition dating to 2017 on which Bruce Barth gone with the Gonz as well winningly, in recent years out and about, is the pianist. SG
Vinnie Sperrazza, photo: via Fresh Sound
MORE READING, LISTENING AND WATCHING:
Vinnie Sperrazza on The Jon Dryden Trio's Walk Away Renee - 2021
Michael Formanek with Peter Formanek on Dyads - 2021
Ethan Iverson interviewed - 2019
Regarding 1970s Keith Jarrett referred to above given the quality of the Paul Motian homage [Motian the drummer in what is Jarrett's usually-referred-to American Quartet with Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden] there is an incredibly moving and brilliant Rick Beato video interview with Keith here as the great one continues his post-stroke recovery.