Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek – Reeds Ramble
(Criss Cross Jazz 1364. CD Review by Eric Ford)
If you like jazz, it’s very probable that you’ll love this CD. Simple as that. Two of the tenor titans of our time with a top rhythm section playing a thoughtfully-arranged program of seven little-known and/or highly unexpected tunes from such as Chico Buarque, Elmo Hope, Eddie Harris, Jim Beard and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys plus an original each from Blake and Cheek.
The glue that sticks all the varied material together is the highly distinctive and characterful playing of (especially) Seamus Blake, Chris Cheek and pianist Ethan Iverson of the Bad Plus, who brings his customary brilliance and wild imagination to this, his first recording on the Dutch label Criss Cross.
Also making his debut on Criss Cross with this CD is drummer Jochen Rueckert. Whilst the band-members’ humour certainly makes itself evident in the music, fans of Rueckert’s (mock?) drum tuition video will be disappointed to learn that his “roast beef curtains” lick (SEE VIDEO) is nowhere to be heard on this CD.
Add to all this Matt Penman on bass, and here you have the perfect rebuttal to those who say that jazz musicians these days aren’t distinctive like the old guys were. It’s also proof that great contemporary jazz doesn’t have to avoid swing or traditional song-forms or instrumentation. Enjoy!