Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ken Fowser & Behn Gillece Little Echo Positone 2010

Little Echo

Fowser & Gilece have been playing together since they were teens just outside Philly. Now this rock solid duo calls the Big Apple home and Little Echo is the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2009 debut Full View. The 2010 release of Little Echo puts a more modern spin on their classic hard bop sound and here we are treated to all new material.

Foweser & Gillece play with elegance and flair and a maturity far beyond their years. No need to flashy showmanship here where their style triumphs over pretentious substance that more often than not winds up tossing a similar quintet in the flavor of the month pile. Fowser has that classic tenor sound but with a slight Hank Mobley meets Dexter Gordon infusion. An original voice in a cookie cutter genre places Fowser in very special company with other tenor players including label mate Ralph Bowen. Gillece has a strong Bobby Hutcherson vibe but done his way and thus making his voice equally as unique as Fowser with a respect for tradition but the willingness and ability to push the musical envelope forward. Complacency or a sound available in the lounge of some of your finest hotels is simply not here. This is original and adventurous while retaining an intimate and soulful quality rare in ensembles of this size. Fowser shines on the bop oriented "Resolutions" with perhaps his finest hour being his funk infused composition "Ninety Five." Gillece shows off his keen lyrical if not harmonic sense on the gorgeous ballad "The Dog Days" and the pop of the in your face quality of "Vigilance."

There are several quintets that receive the majority of the recognition on new releases and overlooking Fowser & Gillece is simply a crime against music. All the stars were in perfect alignment for this gem. Hard charging post bop done with the flair and elegance of the old school masters simply does not get any better than this. Their improvisational approach to each tune is solid and the foundation of their own swing could be compared to the root system of a strong oak tree as their roots are firmly grounded and run deep beneath the sonic surface.

An absolutely impeccable release and a must for the serious collector or casual fan.

Tracks: Resolutions: Ninety Five; SAP; The Dog Days; Vigilance; Little Echo; One Step At A Time; You; Another View.

Personnel: Ken Fowser: tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece: vibraphone; Rick Germanson: piano; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Quincy Davis: drums.