Review by Brad Walseth
Another stellar release from a member of that NYC cadre, this time Austrian -American bassist Hans Glawishnig, whose work with Bobby Watson, Wayne Escoffrey, Chick Corea and a number of Latin stars, including Ray Barretto and David Sanchez, has been noted. On this, his sophomore release, Glawishnig enlists several of his fellow members of that up and coming NYC movement, including saxophonists David Binney, Miguel Zenon and Rich Perry, drummers Jonathan Blake, Marcus Gilmore (Roy Haynes' grandson) and Antonio Sanchez, guitarist Ben Monder and pianist Luis Perdomo, along with special guest Chick Corea, to assist him in realizing his vision. Of course, the musicians wouldn't mean anything if the compositions weren't strong, and fortunately they are exceptional, well-written with the players in mind, original while still being accessible, and generous in the wide range of sources they draw upon.
Opener "Line Drive" is a time-shifting modern quartet piece that is electric both rhythmically and harmonically and gives Zenon a chance to ignite over Blake, Gilmore and Glawishnig's solid architecture. Shifting to a trio with Corea and Gilmore on the savory title track, the three show the kind of rapport they have developed touring as a trio under Corea's leadership. This time with the bassist in charge, it is clear this talented young man is ready to take the next step in his career. Nor is he merely a talented composer either, as he provides a delicious bass solo here.
The arco bowing of Glawischnig over the arpeggiated piano on "Perdomo" reminds one of Glawishnig's classical background (as does "Beneath the Waves") and leads into more Zenon airy flights in this flowing number. Meanwhile, the incredible "Gypsy Tales" showcases the always intriguing David Binney on alto, along with guitar-shredder extraordinaire Ben Monder. both of whom turn in the exciting type of performance they are known for. "Set to Sea"'s melody recalls "Red River Valley," while paying tribute to the artist's recently deceased maternal grandfather who loved boating. This lovely piece features Rich Perry, perhaps the most lyrical tenor saxophonist of the day, as well as sensitive bass solo that Glawishnig's grandfather would surely be proud of. Perdomo also contributes some lush piano work and is an unsung hero throughout.
The Corea trio setting reappears on "Oceanography," a freely jamming take on the chord changes of "How Deep is the Ocean." The bass, being a notoriously difficult instrument to sound good soloing on, is in good hands with Glawishnig who counters Corea's jangly piano well with his intelligent lines. The arco bass, as well as David Binney, make a welcome reappearance for the beautiful 5/4 bolero, "Barrretto's Way" - a tribute to his former bandleader with another stunning Binney solo and Anrtonio Sanchez's propulsive outro. Finally, the well-named "Rabbit Race" ends things double-time with Jonathan Blake's energetic drums pushing the band forward and great solos from Zenon, Perdomo and Glawishnig. A great way to end a great album!