David Berkman: Old Friends and New Friends

Here’s a warm and pastoral album lead by pianist/composer David Berkman. He takes you on a walk through the reeds with a front line of Dayna Stephens/ss-ts, Billy Drewes/as-ss and Adam Kolker/ss-as-cl-bcl along with the sensitive yet supple team of Brian Blade/dr and Linda Oh/b. All the tunes are written by the leader, and they are filled with fragrant harmonies as well as clever melodies as on the tricky but catchy “No Blues No Really No Blues” where the horn  players deliver melodies and counter melodies like the end of a Mozart 2nd Act Opera. Berkman’s gentle piano touch works well with Oh on “Past Progression, while Blade bops the beat forward on the kinetic “Deep High Wide Sky.” Intertwining reeds create soft and supple dynamics on “Stange Attractions Then Birds” and the team gets upbeat on “Up Jumped Ming.” The reeds are like shadows in an Orson Welles movie, always around and sometimes the front feature, while on the closing “Psalm” Berkman weaves through the gentle sounds like Moses through the Nile. Rich and rewarding.

Palmetto Records


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