Marty Ehrlich: News On The Rail (2005)
An avant gardist with an appreciation for melody, Ehrlich has long been associated with innovative artists like Julius Hemphill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, and Roscoe Mitchell. His compositions here intermingle free jazz ("Light in the Morning (Many Thousand Gone) ), avant funk ("Hear You Say ), and more straight-ahead post bop ("Seeker's Delight ). The title tune, with its sinewy, snakelike theme, suggests a soundtrack from a twisted '50s detective movie. The album closes on a tender note with "Keeper of the Flame, a tribute to the late saxophonist Sam Furnace.
As a soloist, Ehrlich weaves twisting, intricate lines on alto sax and clarinet that contrast effectively with the hard-driving rhythms laid down by drummer Allison Miller and bassist Greg Cohen. The rest of the band is first-rate too; trumpeter James Zollar, tuba virtuoso Howard Johnson, and pianist James Weidman all turn in stellar performances.
This adventurous yet accessible music should excite fans of the cutting edge without frightening away mainstream listeners.
Track Listing: Enough Enough; Hear You Say; Light in the Morning (Many Thousand Gone); News on the Rail; Dance No. 2; Erica; Seeker's Delight; Keeper of the Flame (in memory of Sam Furnace).
Personnel: Marty Ehrlich: alto sax, clarinet; James Zollar: trumpet, flugelhorn; Howard Johnson: tuba, baritone sax, bass clarinet; James Weidman: piano, melodica; Greg Cohen: bass; Allison Miller: drums.
Record Label: Palmetto Records
Style: Modern Jazz