When you think of tenor saxophone and vibes then Stan Getz and Cal Tjader would probably be the first pair of names to pop up. Ken Fowser and Behn Gillece may be the next best thing. As instrumentalists there is no questioning their ability which is consistent, adventurous, and exudes a musical connection or chemistry between this pair that seem to be adapt at most any sonic situation that comes there way. Full View is a classic fro this co-led quintet and as luck would have it probably ground zero for their steady climb up the jazz ladder.
Subtle yet complex in development seems to be their musical calling card. Here this formidable quintet also includes David Hazeltin on piano, Adam Cote on bass and holding the groove steady is drummer Paul Francis. While some of used the names of Dexter Gordon and Bobby Hutcherson as musical frames of reference, I prefer Getz and Tjader as they lack the attack mode of Gordon and Hutcherson and are more in tune with the zen like less is more approach allowing the listener to become fully vested in the music more so than something pulled out of an arsenal of trick bags.
While this quintet is adventurous taking a more developed polyrhythmic number like "Hutch" and allowing the entire ensemble to stretch out there is a nice variety to this release that is at times addictive. "Soul Eyes" is a wistful and incredibly gorgeous ballad where the lyrical direction of Fowser gently guides the ensemble with elegance, grace and a lyrical voice that barely a handful of active players could match today. Indeed old school coming of age as a new shooter begins to make his own mark. The standard "Just In Time" is that old school smoker where Gillece should wear out a minimum of two sets of mallets in rehearsal alone. Joyous abandon with shifting yet accessible harmonics that have one wondering what is just around the musical corner. As a critic there can be a great deal more than just the new release possibilities as playing musical then and now. Fowser and Gillece continue to develop their sound and technique as one of the finest evolving duo led ensembles and continue to raise the bar for others to follow. A stellar release!
Tracks: Bittersweet; The Hutch; Act Of Disguise; Soul Eyes; Two Pair; Just In Time; Crisis Averted.
Personnel: Ken Fowser: tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece: vibraphone; David Hazeltine: piano; Adam Cote: bass; Paul Francis: drums.
A taste of their latest from Posi-Tone 2011