An improvisational groove summit, Sheryl Bailey's best!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Smaller ensembles often evolve into a leader and a few afterthoughts filling in the necessary harmonic void. "What we have here is a failure to communicate" good movie but that certainly does not apply to the soulful swing of the musical conversation known as A Meeting Of Minds from Sheryl Bailey. Organ trios can and to a degree have become cliché after having been forced into the jazz witness protection program thanks to the increasing popularity of fusion starting in the mid 70's. A Meeting Of Minds welcomes you back to the land of rhythm and groove with a swing and a swagger for modern times.
What separates Sheryl Bailey and this formidable trio from the rest of their contemporaries is the ability to ride the groove while never getting in each others way. Drummer Ian Froman is far more than a human metronome as he rides on top of groove and lays down a deft touch of lyrical finesse that both organist Ron Oswanski and guitarist Sheyl Bailey embrace with enthusiasm. Bailey and Oswanski are burners in every sense of the word but their hook is that they use a more zen like approach never wearing out their improvisational welcome as the harmonic conversation moves full circle. Bailey's sound on guitar might be best described as Kenny Burrell meets Pat Martino but done the Bailey way! Three artists performing with one voice is a rare trick to pull off but this trio makes it look easy. Eleven of the twelve tunes are originals from Bailey demonstrating her talent can go far beyond the fret board as she creates music with muscle. "Unity" is a Bailey original with a slight ambient contemporary vibe while "Cactus" is an old school burner with no quarter given.
Organ trios are on the rise again. Sheryl Bailey and A Meeting Of Minds avoids some of the pitfalls that similar artists seem to invariably find. Here we have solid original compositions, no lounge lizard inspired covers, and three artists whose chemistry is simply off the charts. Negatives? How about too short?
Tracks: All Talk; Good News; One For V.J.; Unity; Cactus; An Unexpected Turn; 5-1; Cheap Jersey Gas; A Meeting Of Minds; Broken Glass; The Lioness; Last Night.
Personnel: Sheryl Bailey: Guitar; Ron Oswanski: Hammond B-3 Organ; Ian Froman: Drums.