|All Artists: Alan Broadbent|
Title: Round Midnight
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 1/3/2005
Album Type: Import
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Another stellar outing from Alan Broadbent . . .
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 11/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
". . . falling perhaps just short of You and the Night and the Music on account of producer and double bassist Brian Bromberg's histrionics. As much as I liked him on that previous disc, I believe he's gone just a little over the top on this one. This may merely be a case of de gustibus non disputandum est, but I don't think so.
Don't get me wrong; the man is a killer player; it's just that he seems more concerned with displaying his chops (not inconsiderable, it must be admitted) than fitting into a cohesive and dialogic group concept. Not that he can't do the latter; it just seems as if he gets bored or something and is always looking for an excuse to cut loose with some technically brilliant if not entirely apposite bass blasts. Moreover, he evidences a (not nowadays uncommon) propensity for his instrument's upper register when soloing, which will undoubtedly earn him accolades from either the uninformed or those mesmerized by such grandstanding, again emphasizing his chops and dexterity at the expense of spinning out lines that advance conversation. That said, it must be admitted that he is actually a very gifted musician, often supplying brilliantly imaginative statements and compelling conversation in a group setting. Still, if one encountered this session in a blindfold test, one might easily mistakenly think the disc is Bromberg's, not Broadbent's
Drummer Joe Labarbera, on the other hand, operates out of an almost opposite approach to Bromberg's: he's positively restrained on his instrument, and his solo statements are exercises in taste without sacrificing innovation. Where one might wish Bromberg to back off slightly, one might like to see a little more expressivism from Labarbera.
How such a pair can operate successfully, even brilliantly, as a rhythm section is a mystery, solved, perhaps, because the leader splits the difference between the two: He's got the chops of Bromberg and the taste of Labarbera, bringing these together so that the whole is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. And that is the real genius of Alan Broadbent. He can be tasteful and expressivistic, restrained and loquacious, always displaying his ridiculous chops appositely, sans unnecessary and unseemly virtuosity. There may be more dexterous players (Jean-Michel Pilc) more tasteful players (Kenny Barron?) more chops-heavy players (Vijay Iyer, Eldar) more purely virtuoso players (Jacky Terrasson) more inventive players (Brad Mehldau) more idiosyncratically brilliant players (Frank Kimbrough, Omar Sosa) more percussive players (Iyer again, McCoy Tyner) more ravishingly romantic players (Keith Jarrett) but no one who combines elements of all these approaches as profoundly and effectively. Besides, I'm not sure if there's a better interpreter of standards alive, pace Keith Jarrett and Bill Charlap.
So even if there's perhaps a little too much of Bromberg on this disc, it nevertheless contains a very high level of conversation, entirely worth hearing and certainly worth acquiring by anyone who loves modern jazz piano of the first water. Warmly recommended."