Eric Reed and Groovewise are stupid good...
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Eric Reed is a man of great passion and great intellect which is why Groovewise works so well. Improvisational music recorded in a live setting is often feast or famine. Reed didn't want to settle so he apparently tapped into the talents of artists that are willing to not only follow his lead but work as a true collective where each has the chance to stretch out and make their own statement, Groovewise doesn't street till 9/9/2014 but in the day of the pre-order and digital download the old fashioned street date has lost true meaning.
Call it a groove or call it swing, you feel it. Reed pushes the music into some previously uncharted territory despite the fact some of the compositions are not brand new. Seamus Blake is a rising star on saxophone however he sat out on "Gentle Giant" which is an exquisite trio offering to the great Mulgrew Miller. The rhythm section is rounded off with critically acclaimed bassist Ben Williams and drum legend Gregory Hutchinson. "Bopward" is a post bop gem reminiscent of a Charlie Parker type direction yet with some more Ornette Coleman type changes. The set opens with "Powerful Paul Robeson" from Clifford Jordan and the enthusiasm from the musical co-conspirators is evident from the first few bars.
There are some pianists that would "phone it in" while banging out some Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner or Keith Jarrett. Eric Reed doesn't do anything half way and neither does this band. Let us hope there is a follow up.
Tracks: Powerful Paul Robeson; Until The Last Cat Has Swung; Manhattan Melodies; The Gentle Giant; Ornate; The Shade of the Cedar Tree; Bopward; Una Mujer Elegante; Groovewise (Intro); Groovewise.