Take Five: Riveting New Music

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Monday May 07, 2018

From WBGO: Take Five

Take Five: Riveting New Music by María Grand, Kenny Barron, Román Filiú, Ben Wendel and Dave Holland
By: Nate Chinen

Ben Wendel with Walter Smith III, ‘Cherokee’

This is ‘Cherokee,’ obviously, a test of mettle for jazz soloists since its invention 80 years ago. The friend in question is Walter Smith III, another tenor player who sets an imposing bar for harmonic fluency. And what’s most striking about their treatment of the tune is the extent of their communion as improvisers. This isn’t a cutting session in any sense; it’s more like a study in instantaneous counterpoint, and a shining exemplar of deep listening. Also, too, a good curtain-raiser for Wendel’s new series, further details of which are yet unknown.

Dave Holland, Evan Parker, Craig Taborn and Ches Smith, ‘Q&A’

Parker and Holland have a kinship that goes all the way back to 1960s London, in and out of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. This album captures them both in superior form, with two of the most insightful and texture-mad improvisers from the younger guard. ‘Q&A,’ a Holland composition, captures the spirit of this accord, with a testing-the-waters beginning that quickly finds full bloom.

Listen to the tracks – and read about more – here