One of the best Independent releases for 2014, don't miss it!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
To talk about having a father and son see eye to eye on anything would be a tad cliche' not to mention terribly inaccurate with Drye & Drye and Open Letter. Father and son do team up to release one of the finest independent releases of the year. An homage to a variety of composers, Open Letter might well be described in cliff notes as Broadway blues with a big band swing. Despite the myriad of styles and composers honored there is a synchronicity of sound and synergy of execution that while precise is warm and open ended as though a live studio recording. This is what critics mean with the overuse of the word organic.
A four horn front line with bass and drums, rare. A four horn front line that can manipulate melody on a minimalist plane and create a small ensemble sound, unheard of. Baritone saxophonist Howard Drye and trombonist son Brian Drye each contribute five tunes that are a musical dialog of experiences both shared and appreciated. Some of New York's top talent including drummer Vinnie Sperrazza and Mike McGinnis on clarinet are keys to the less is more zen like approach to melody that could be easily mangled if left to lesser talent. There are no weak links in this ensemble, there are more up sides to Open Letter than I have room to print.
From the slinky "Blues For Jimmy" to the magnificently melancholy "The Empty Chair" and back to the smoldering swing of "Home Brew" there is a lot happening with Open Letter. This is an old school homage with a Big Apple flair that has a deceptively subtle modern twist. I have long championed the independent artist, this is simply another reason why.
Tracks: Blues For Jimmy; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; Ossification; The Empty Chair; Precious Silver; Elbows; April 1st, 2010; Home Brew; Sidney; Orion.