A TRIO OF QUARTETS…Alex Levine Quartet: Towards the Center, Phil Parisot: Lingo, Clay Giberson: Pastures

One of the perennial jazz collectives is the jazz quartet, consisting of a lead reed accompanied by a rhythm section. Here are three recent ones, but with a few tweaks within the story.

Guitarist Alex Levine brings together Marcus Elliot/sax, Ben Rolston /b and Stephen Boegehold/ for a Baker’s Dozen of his originals. Levine’s guitar has a tensile tone, creating a rich intro for Elliot’s tenor on “Ritual Dance” while the band gets assertive and free wheeling on “Ignorance.” Post modern musings are on “August” while the team slides into a hip bop groove during “Implosion”  in between a scorching “Dispersal” and fun “Adama.” A mix of indie rock and post ESP-era jazz.

Drummer Phil Parisot leads a team of Steve Treseler/ts-ss, Dan Kramlich/key-p and Michael Glynn/b through a collection of originals with a handful of covers. Of the latter, the obscure Ellington piece “”Low Key Lightly” is a lusciously relaxed ballad with Kramlich’s suave touch caressing the piano. The team goes off to the races as Parisot cracks the whip on Jerry Bergonzi’s “Different Places Together” and the team gets cozy on the keyboards and tenor for the delightful “One For Hugh.” The drummer’s own “Collae” has an irresistible groove for Treseler’s tenor, likewise a hip pulse gets the fingers popping on “Staircase.” A pair of vignettes let the leader show his wares on various patterns and instruments, including a gong on “The Drumset” so you get a real workshop on this rewarding session.

Pianist and keyboard player Clay Giberson brings together Donny McCaslin/ts-fl-ss, Drew Gress/b and Matt Wilson/dr for a mix and match of originals and standards. His classical technique comes through on a fun piece with McCaslin’s tenor on “Solfeggio, ” and while team gets fun and kinetic on “Song For Ornette,” but the treat here is when a string quartet comes in for some extra textures, as the leader brings back the spirit of Bach on “Simple Gifts.” McCaslin’s flute floats over the strings on the rich “Long Ago and Far Away” while “Infinity X” has the depth of a modern oil painting. Rich collections of sounds and eras meld well here.



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