Saturday, August 25, 2012

Brandi Disterheft Gratitude Justin Time 2012

Brandi Disterheft plays the upright bass with the lyrical improvisational chops of someone twice her 27 years. The great Oscar Peterson compared her to his late bass player Ray Brown and stated, "She is what we call serious." Disterheft works the lower end of the bass in the same vein as some of her mentors which include Rufus Reid, Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen and most recently the great Ron Carter.

On September 11th Brandi Disterheft will release Gratitude on Justin Time Records. Gratitude is her third release as a leader and arguable the best. Guests include trumpet wizard Sean Jones, Renee Rosnes on piano and Gregory Hutchinson on drums. Swing is the order of the day on this stellar release. Disterheft had an innate lyrical gift to follow the leader as it were and pull together a rhythm section for a tighter then tight vibe. Long story short, she swings like a beast. Disterheft is firmly grounded in tradition and appreciation of the roots of what she plays but her maturity has her taking command and pushing this formidable quintet to new heights.

Six of the ten tracks here are originals showing that Disterheft is in fact the real deal. Both as an instrumentalist and as a composer she is part of the future of straight ahead jazz and a most welcome addition to perhaps what had been considered more of a "boys club" for some time. Opening with the original "Blues For Nelson Mandela" there is a relaxed melodic pulse that allows Disterheft show to off her abilities at writing horn harmonies while keeping the deceptively subtle blues infused base line steady rolling as she brings a bit of sass to an incredibly well written number. Renee Rosnes reels off a killer solo with an intense lyrical sense of purpose and a nice harmonic vibe. Another impressive original is "Portrait of Duke" featuring a nice call and response section between trumpet phenom Sean Jones and Brandi Disterheft. A nice burner with rock solid swing from Hutchinson behind the drum kit. Disterheft even delivers the goods as a vocalist with the original "Le Regardner La Recontrer Encore" which is sung in French. The cover of George and Ira Gershwins "The Man I Love" is an amazing reharmed solo that firmly establishes Disterheft's place among the top tier of bass players working today. Stretching out a bit Disterheft takes a more contemporary approach on "Compared To What" as she updates the political charged number to fit modern times. While I personally don't enjoy mixing my music and politics, Disterheft's take is captivating and fits in with an incredibly well balanced release from start to finish. Vincent Herring does a magnificent job on alto sax and Anne Drummond may be one of the most under rated flute players today. A dynamic ensemble that works with amazing synergy to a harmonious conclusion of each tune. A winner!

From open to close as rock solid a release as you will hear. Having reviewed well over a dozen releases from bass players this year, Gratitude goes in the memorable pile. Both Brandi Disterheft and her label Justin Time continue to impress. The future of modern jazz is here!

Tracks: Blues For Nelson Mandela; Gratitude; Mizmahta; But Beautiful; Portrait Of Duke; Kissing The Cheek Of Providence; Le Regardner La Recontrer Encore; Open; The Man I Love; Compared To What.

Personnel: Brandi Disterheft; acoustic bass and vocals; Vincent Herring; alto sax; Sean Jones; trumpet; Anne Drummond; alto flute and bass flute; Renee Rosnes: piano; Gregory Hutchinson: drums.