Humanity without self indulgent nobility. Inspired and inspiring music...A rare treat.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
A strange and oddly ironic review for this critic. I recently made the statement that conceptual releases glorifying anything other than the music would find their rightful place in the trash can. I was wrong, and an ass for making that statement. I say this because I never dreamed that a release would cross my desk that was a conceptually centric work revolving around the healing force of music and the impact it has not just on humanity in general but those suffering from chronic and terminal illness...I am dying of liver disease.
I say that not to take away from Noah Baerman's Ripples but to reinforce the basal intention of the not-for-profit label founded in 2012 by Noah and some other equally special individuals. Ripples is at times quirky and at times soulful. Speaking from experience no two people walk the same path whether they are dealing with liver disease, cancer, or aids...You experience a soul siege and here lies the beauty of Ripples. The diversity of artistic discovery and contribution includes premier Big Apple vibraphonist Chris Dingman, accomplished drummer Johnathan Blake and the great Kenny Barron. This is a harmonic mosaic, a lyrical quilt of discovery that envelops the listener. Ripples is far outside my typical wheelhouse, that's good. As a critic you have a responsibility to take what you know and what you are comfortable with and make the honest effort to move past that.
The amazing aspect of Ripples would be the consistent lyrical life force that travels within each composition. Genre? Labels are for cans of soup and while this would be a release more closely associated with chamber jazz, this is new improvisational music from an entirely different cerebral plane.
Perfect? No...Who is? A release that embraces the essence of the fighting spirit within us all? Yes.
Ripples is a unique release that walks the visceral / cerebral tightrope given the context from which the compositions are developed with grace, elegance and a simple beauty that is rare.
Tracks: Time Is Now; Motherless; The Outer Circle; Ripple: Persistence; Peeling The Onion; The Healer; Ripple: Brotherhood; Lester; Ripple: Brotherhood; Lester; Ripple: L'Amour Gagne; Ripples (For Margie).
Personnel: Noah Baerman: Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Slide Guitar, Vocals.
Kenny Barron: Piano; Jimmy Greene, Kris Allen, Erica von Kleist, Ben Fingland: Winds; Meg Okura, Zach Brock, Dave Eggar: Strings; Chris Dingman: Vibraphone; Henry Lugo, Linda Oh: Bass; Vinnie Sperrazza, Johnathan Blake: Drums; Claire Randall, Garth Taylor, Jessica Best, Erica Bryan: Vocals.